Big Creek Arch Bridge in McDowell County to be replaced

·2 min read

Jan. 21—BERWIND — A McDowell County bridge that has stood for 106 years will be replaced thanks to a project awarded Thursday by the West Virginia Department of Highways.

SMH Construction Company Inc. was awarded a contract for $1,612,978.90 to replace the Big Creek Arch Bridge in McDowell County. Built in 1916, the bridge carriers WV 16 over Big Creek just east of the community of Berwind. The project will be funded by bond sales from Gov. Jim Justice's $2.8 billion Roads to Prosperity program, state officials said.

The bridge is crucial to travel in southern McDowell County, WVDOH officials said. Failing to replace the bridge would result in lengthy detours for drivers and commercial traffic.

The bridge is paid for with $423 million raised by the West Virginia Parkways Authority from a bond sale in June 2021.

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, state officials said. In cases where a bid is above the engineer's estimate, the 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.

When the Division of Highways has a project that is determined to be best constructed by a contractor, it is processed through the bid letting system. A letting is a scheduled opportunity for contractors to review and bid on several construction projects at one time, state officials said. Lettings are held either once or twice per month and conducted through the Bid Express System online at and handled through the Contract Administration Division.

— Contact Greg Jordan at

Contact Greg Jordan at

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting