Thomas Buford Pugh Bridge Replacement

TRC is retained to complete a study and resulting design recommendations for a quickly deteriorating bridge spanning a federally-protected river.


West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways

Project Location

Fayette and Raleigh Counties, WV

TRC was retained by the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways (WVDOH), to provide engineering services for a rehabilitation/replacement study and resulting plan development for the Thomas Buford Pugh Memorial Bridge. The existing bridge carries WV Route 41 over the New River near the town of Prince in Fayette County, WV and provides the only highway crossing of the New River between US Route 19 to the north and I-64 to the south, a distance of 40 miles.

Complicating the project, the bridge lies within the boundaries of the New River Gorge National River, which is publicly-owned and managed by the National Park Service (NPS). Because the New River in the project area is listed as a Category 1 Stream, there cannot be any loss of stream habitat due to the project’s construction. The river is also popular with kayakers and other recreational boaters.

TRC evaluated 10 build alternatives, along with a renovation option and the effect it would have on the structure’s historic eligibility. During the study development phase, TRC staff attended numerous meetings with the NPS and the WVDOH to discuss the project’s various environmental concerns. Due to concerns with possible temporary stream impacts during construction, numerous causeway and construction alternatives were studied. TRC also performed a shear stress analysis of the river to determine any negative impacts to the river bed and mussel habitat.

It was ultimately decided that a new river crossing would be constructed, with the existing bridge being used to maintain traffic during construction. The new structure will consist of a 3-span steel plate girder bridge with semi-integral abutments with MSE walls and single column piers founded on single drilled shafts (chosen to minimize disturbance to the federally-protected river). The bridge will also incorporate a recreational lane to permit access to The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve which will be the future home of the National Scout Jamboree. TRC is presently involved with providing engineering support during construction of the new structure.

See related services

Bridge Studies and Design

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