Repairs complete on 112-year-old Laurel Creek covered bridge near Union

On Friday, March 22, 2024, West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) bridge engineers discovered the historic Laurel Creek covered bridge leaning precariously to one side. WVDOH District 9 Engineer Jim Moore, P.E., said the wooden structure had apparently been hit by an oversized truck.

District 9 District Forces, or DisForce, used a come along winch tied to a tree to pull the bridge back upright and immediately installed temporary beams in the roof to keep the bridge from collapsing until permanent repairs could be made.
The following week, DisForce crews were back to replace broken beams and rafters and restore the span to its original condition.

“It’s a historic structure,” Moore said. “There aren’t many of these covered bridges left, and it’s important to preserve them.”

Built in 1912 at a cost of $365, the Laurel Creek covered bridge is the smallest of West Virginia’s 17 remaining covered bridges. The 24 ½-foot bridge carries Laurel Creek Road over Laurel Creek about four miles southwest of Union.

DisForce is a dedicated crew specializing in bridge and other projects requiring special expertise. For the Laurel Creek repair, DisForce brought in locally sourced hemlock to make repairs to the bridge using original materials. Restoration required partial disassembly of the existing bridge structure to replace some of the beams underneath.

Crews completed structural repairs on the span on Friday, March 29, 2024, and intended to restain parts they had to replace on Monday, April 1, 2024.

“DisForce does a lot of maintenance work on bridges throughout the district,” Moore said. “It was because of them and their skill level that we could respond as quickly as we did.”

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