WV Transportation

WV Transportation

WV Transportation

WV Department of Transportation

WVDOH dives in to shore up Wayne County bridge


In rural Wayne County, not far from the entrance of Beech Fork Lake, three men in dive suits are filling big white bags with concrete grout in the frigid, murky water under a bridge.
The men are divers with the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH), and they are working to fill a 17-foot void that developed beneath the bridge abutment.
MEDIA: For B-roll of bridge divers, CLICK HERE.
“This Is a perfect example of how our bridge inspection program is working,” said Chase Lindsey, P.E., WVDOH District 2 Bridge Engineer.

A routine bridge inspection in December 2023 showed that riprap from the base of the abutment had washed away, allowing water to get underneath the concrete abutment and wash further material away. A field of stones could be seen downstream of the bridge where the riprap came to rest.
To fill the void left under the abutment and shore up the bridge, divers filled half a dozen bags of various sizes with grout from an overhead cement mixer. They slipped the bags beneath the murky water under the bridge and filled them in place.

Lindsey said District 2 bridge crews wanted to make the repairs before Beech Fork Lake was refilled for the spring tourist season, when the water was still low. The tradeoff is that the water is still pretty cold in mid-March.

Divers filled the bags with a long hose from a cement mixer parked atop the bridge. The semi-liquid grout flowed into the bags to be placed beneath the bridge abutment. An exothermic chemical reaction within the grout itself ensured that the mixture hardened, even underwater.
Once the bags of grout hardened, WVDOH crews replaced the riprap around the bridge abutment with larger rocks so the abutment won’t wash out again.