Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Little Sandy Bridges on I-79: anti-icing overlay installation

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Thanks to the West Virginia Department of Highways and their contractors, on Friday morning I was able to get a close-up look at the anti-icing overlay being installed on the Little Sandy Bridges on I-79 near Elkview. Much like the Carter/Fort Hill/Oakwood bridge on I-64 in Charleston, the Little Sandy Bridges' curved configuration on a 70mph stretch of highway makes it another notorious hotspot for ice-related car accidents in the winter. I have been following the project at Little Sandy with interest, as this may have potential for reducing crashes at other high-risk locations in the area.

The Little Sandy site

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The Little Sandy Bridges near Elkview (use the Google map above to pan and zoom) carry Interstate 79 across the Little Sandy Creek valley on twin spans, about 2 miles south of the Elkview exit. The bridges are long, curved and banked - and the speed limit on the Interstate here is 70 MPH. As a result, when the Little Sandy Bridges become icy in the winter, accidents are a near certainty. Many serious ice-related pileups have occured at this site over the years. In fact, the accident rate at Little Sandy may be on par with the Carter/Fort Hill/Oakwood bridge in Charleston - but due to the remote rural location and lack of safe parking and accessability, I have not tried to document any crashes here.

The WVDOH has chosen the Little Sandy Bridges as one of several testing sites in the state for the application of the overlay system.

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VIDEOS: Video clip list with many Fort Hill Bridge incidents: See Videos

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