BERWIND, WV (WVNS) — A project to replace the Big Creek Arch Bridge, which is 106 years old, was announced by Governor Jim Justice on Thursday, January 20, 2022.

The money for the replacement effort was awarded to the West Virginia Division of Highways from bond sales provided by Gov. Jim Justice’s $2.8 Billion Roads to Prosperity program. The bond sale was made by the West Virginia Parkways Authority in June of 2021, and was worth $423 million. As a result, SMH Construction Company Inc. was awarded a contract for $1,612,978.90 to replace the Big Creek Arch Bridge in McDowell County.

Travel through McDowell County is greatly impacted by the bridge, both commercial traffic and local drivers. The bridge was built in 1916, and crosses over Big Creek near the community of Berwind. If the bridge didn’t receive a replacement, it could result in lengthy detours for all who normally use it.

According to the DOH, Several factors are considered before awarding a bid, including whether a bid falls above or below the WVDOH Engineer’s Estimate and by what percentage. In cases where a bid is above the Engineer’s Estimate, WVDOH must consider the project need, repercussions of not awarding the project, additional funding sources, and whether or not sufficient reasons exist for the differences in estimates. Most projects are reviewed, analyzed, and awarded within a week of the bid letting, but the process can take longer.