As part of a massive project to clean and paint nine interstate bridges and six interstate ramps through downtown Charleston, construction crews have begun the process of removing the Capitol Hill walkway.
The walkway, which was closed in the early 1990s due to safety concerns, is part of a bridge that crosses interstates 64 and 77. It features a series of enclosed stairs, towers and walkways.
Greg Bailey, P.E., West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) Chief Engineer of Operations, said the contractor has started the early work of removing the walkway and demolitions crews are on site.
“As part of this project, of painting and concrete coating, we are demolishing the Capitol Walkway,” Bailey said. “We are going to remove all of the walkway. Then the exposed areas that result will be coated and painted like the rest of the system.”
On March 1, 2022, Blastech Enterprises Inc. was awarded a contract for $27,420,996.50 to clean and paint the series of bridges and ramps on I-77 and I-64.
The project includes bridges over Piedmont Road, Bigley Avenue, and Court Street and ramps accessing Court Street, Leon Sullivan Way, and Brooks Street. The painting is necessary to prolong the life of the bridges and ramps.
Painting has been the most visible aspect of the project, with the bridges painted dark blue similar to the Fort Hill Bridge. Bailey said a white coating and sealant is being placed on exposed concrete surfaces and structural steel.
Crews have paused painting and concrete coating for the winter and are taking advantage of the time by beginning the walkway phase of the project. Contractors have begun removing material from inside the structure in preparation for demolition.
There may be lane closures during the demolition. The WVDOH will keep the public informed of upcoming closures, and sign boards will be installed on the interstate to inform drivers of any closures.
Demolition will be carefully controlled to minimize the impact on the public.
The projected completion date is November 2023.