CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Contractors for the Grant Street Bridge in Bluefield have resumed work.

Work was delayed earlier in May due to contractors discovering soft rock on the building site, which rescheduled their construction plans. Any of these changes must be approved by officials with the Norfolk Southern Railroad, over which the bridge passes, and have recently signed off on these changes allowing work to start again.

The bridge has been closed since June 2019, giving drivers a lengthy alternate route for getting around the town.

In October 2020, Governor Jim Justice announced a funding of $10.5 million, which went towards replacing the decaying structure. Highway officials have helped plan out an agreement as well between Norfolk Southern Corporation and the City of Bluefield, who have both jointed rights for the historic bridge.

Under the agreement, Norfolk Southern agreed to give full ownership of the bridge to the City of Bluefield, along with an additional $500,000 in funding towards construction. The West Virginia Division of Highways also agreed to help with the construction project, in which they were able to obtain $8 million in funding from the Federal Highway Administration, and another $2 million in funding from state sources.

In the spring of 2021, Brayman Construction Corporation was awarded a grant funding for $8,097,117.21 to completely replace the old bridge and build a brand new bridge from the bottom up. With these changes, the bridge will make it much more easier for access around the town and to US 19.

With this awarded funding, contractors were able to begin construction of the new bridge structure in August 2021.

The new bridge, which is built in the same structure place as the existing span, will be approximately 330 feet long. The anticipated date for completion is expected by late 2022.