Edith B. Barill (Star City)
Another HPS bridge eased Morgantown-area congestion by upgrading the existing two-lane Monongahela River bridge on US 19 to four through lanes and a center turn lane.
The $20.1 million continuous haunched I-girder bridge, extending from Boyers Avenue (Monongalia County 7/20) to Osage Road (County 19/24), had spans of 216, 412, 216 and 160 feet. It was completed by National Engineering and Contracting Company of Strongsville, Ohio, in two phases, using the existing structure while half of the bridge was built, then maintaining a single lane of traffic in each direction on the new bridge while the old bridge was demolished and the remainder of the new structure completed.
An innovative addition to the bridge are hundreds of sensors that monitor movement, showing what the structure is doing at any time in terms of deflection, the stresses placed on it at various locations and how loads, such as two trucks approaching each other from opposite directions, affect it. Called a “living bridge” by local engineers, the structure, which was named by the 2001 state legislature to honor a former mayor of the town, can also monitor any delamination of its concrete deck. With the engineering program of West Virginia University close by, the Division of Highways considers the Star City Bridge a teaching tool through which students can learn the basic principals of the way a structure works.