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WVDOH announces Hampshire County’s John Blue Bridge is open to traffic

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The John Blue Bridge, located near Springfield in Hampshire County, opened to traffic in mid-January 2022, after a nearly two-year replacement project, the West Virginia Division of Highways announced. The bridge carries WV 28 across the South Branch of the Potomac River.   The roughly $13 million project began in April 2020. The new 478-foot bridge replaces a 420-foot three-span steel truss bridge originally built in 1936 by the Fort Pitt Bridge Works of Pittsburgh, PA.

The project was paid for with a combination of federal and state funding.   Contractors utilized phased construction to replace the old bridge, building half of the new bridge immediately upstream of the old span. The old bridge was kept open while the new bridge was built. Once that half of the bridge was finished, traffic was shifted onto the new span.   Contractors then used a pneumatic hammer mounted on an excavator to chip away at the old bridge abutments, dropping the old bridge into the water before building the second half of the new bridge on the site of the old span.   The John Blue Bridge was originally called the Grace Bridge, but was renamed in honor of John Blue, an early settler who came to Hampshire County in 1725, and whose family figures prominently in Hampshire County history.   In October 1861, Union and Confederate troops fought a skirmish in the area on a bridge that crossed the South Branch at almost the same spot where the John Blue Bridge now sits.​​