Rep. Jenkins asks Norfolk Southern for assistance in Belo bridge issue

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MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- U.S Rep. Evan Jenkins is asking for assistance with a crumbling bridge that has left residents stranded for nearly a year now.

In March 2015, WSAZ reported on the Elmer Brown Bridge, which connects Elmer Brown Drive to Route 65 in Belo, in Mingo County.

At that time, the bridge's boards and beams were rotted and falling down, and the ground beneath the bridge had eroded.

Thursday, US Rep. Evan Jenkins sent a letter to Norfolk Southern, asking for assistance for these neighbors.

In the letter, he asks for temporary emergency access to the company's property to build a temporary emergency road for the residents of Belo.

Jenkins says the bridge is in such poor condition, it cannot be used by vehicles, including ambulances, fire trucks and school buses.

Since the bridge is impassible, according to Jenkins, residents have to drive through Pigeon Creek, or walk across the "treacherous" bridge.

Mingo County officials have developed plans to construct a temporary emergency road, which would require access to property owned by Norfolk Southern.

The temporary road would ensure access to the community while the Elmer Brown Bridge is repaired, which will likely be a lengthy process.

Jenkins says the residents need safe travel in and out of their community, and emergency vehicles and school buses must be able to serve the people of Belo.

In December 2015, Carrie Bly with WVDOG told the Mingo Messenger, "The bridge is currently on private property. We will build the bridge if the county commission will get the right of way and funding for the bridge, or we will work with a contractor if they want someone else to build it. We are currently waiting on plans and a cost estimate for the new bridge to give them so they will know what the costs involved will be. Once the bridge is built, and built to our specifications, we can take it into our system. We have had people who purchase all the materials and then we build the bridge to our specifications and take it into our system."

You can read the full letter by clicking on the link.

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