West Virginia – Weekly Report – April 19-23, 2021

April 30, 2021

Dave and Patti Hughes from Ohio continued as Project Director and Office Manager. Lynn Newcomer came from Kansas to serve as equipment operator this week. His wife, Lois, accompanied him and assisted Lois Wenger in the kitchen. We referred to them as Lois #1 and Lois #2. This was the third and final week for Lois Wenger who will be headed home to New York. Our weekly crew of six came from Metzler Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania.

Our crew continued work on the bridge for Chad and Amy Canterbury on Poca Fork Road. They completed the decking and worked on the curbs along the sides of the bridge on Monday. It was said that this is a lot different from sanding drywall. Next, the workers assembled gabion baskets, then built frames for an additional pouring of concrete on one side of the bridge. Tuesday was “popcorn and movie night”.  Johann Zimmermann, the bridge engineer, was here for the day making a few modifications and brought along a slide presentation on the bridges. This was great, because each weekly crew only sees one phase of the process and his pictures tell the bigger story.

On Wednesday after breakfast Lois Wenger offered more of her words of wisdom: “Don’t judge a day by its weather”. This was discussed all day at the job site as the men mixed and poured concrete in rain, snow, sleet, wind, and occasional sunshine. The consensus was that it would be easier to follow this advice when one is in the kitchen and not out in the cold!  Meanwhile, back at the camp, the cooks concocted a “model” bridge made of edible items: marshmallow bars for the abutments, flat chocolate pieces stacked up for the mid-stream pillars, pretzel sticks for the girders and guard rails, crackers for the decking, peanut butter for the rushing stream underneath, and mixed nut pieces for the riprap.  The bridge pieces were all glued together with stiff frosting.

The rest of the week “rocked”!  Truckloads of rip rap were delivered to fill gabion baskets along the bridge approaches and as a base for the driveway. This was then topped with crushed stone to make a solid finished surface. At last, we pulled our tool trailer off the property on Friday afternoon. All that remains is to smooth out the soil and finish with grass seed and straw.

Patti Hughes for the West Virginia Bridges team 

View more photos here.