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  • Location: Martinsburg, West Virginia

The historic stone arch East Burke Street Bridge in Martinsburg, West Virginia, pre-dates the Civil War, outlasting other structures that were destroyed by confederate forces. Today, the bridge is situated over the Tuscarora Creek as a vehicular and pedestrian transport between downtown Martinsburg and neighboring residential areas.

With deficiencies like unstable wingwalls, general loss of mortar, missing, cracking or loose stones, sidewalk settlement and other factors that inhibited the bridge’s already poor condition, the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) and the City of Martinsburg contracted B&N to study, inspect and rehabilitate the historic structure. By rehabilitating the structure, B&N was able to design a safe passageway that preserves the bridge’s history and increases the load capacity for all travelers.

As part of the initial study, B&N outlined details of the bridge’s historical significance through document research. The nomination form for the National Register of Historical Places Inventory and documents at the Berkeley County Historical Archives indicates that the structure was most likely built in the 1860s. The data collected was later used for a historical plaque on the site, but more importantly was utilized by B&N to compare alternatives for renovating and replacing the structure.

B&N provided WVDOT and the City with five alternative approaches to the rehabilitation with detailed costs for each: minimal renovation, major renovation without strengthening arch, major renovation with aluminum strengthening culvert, major renovation with concrete strengthening arch, and replacement with pre-cast concrete arch. B&N then presented each approach to the agency and City so they could understand the measures that would need to be taken for each alternative.

B&N’s scope of services included:

  • In-depth bridge inspection
  • Evaluation of historical features and their conditions
  • Hydraulic analysis
  • Key stakeholder presentations and discussions
  • A renovation study report that compared the alternatives for repairs 
  • Plan specifications

The team also used an innovative, high-tech approach to gather more information about the structure including a high definition survey scan which was used to obtain stone mapping and MIDAS structural analysis software. To avoid damage caused by vibration, the use of micropiles was selected.

From temporarily supporting the arch, restoring the stone arch, unearthing the stone from the ground and designing a hidden reinforced concrete arch above it, the agency and B&N worked together. The updated structure now provides safe access between downtown and residential neighborhoods with a design that is stronger and more aesthetically appealing. The project also helped retain this important piece of history for the City of Martinsburg residents and tourists.

Honors & Awards

The East Burke Street Bridge project has been recognized by the following industry organization:

  • 2020 Engineering Excellence Award – Structural Systems, American Council of Engineering Companies of West Virginia