HUNTINGTON - Members of Huntington City Council on Monday night approved the replacement of the 8th Street Bridge, which is expected to coincide with the widening of the 5th Street Bridge this fall.
Also during the meeting, Chairman Mark Bates announced the resignation of council member Tina Brooks, who said in a letter that she was quitting "due to my life going in a different direction." The city will now begin taking applications to replace Brooks, who represented District 9.
Council members voted to allow Mayor Steve Williams to enter into a contract with the West Virginia Department of Highways to replace the 115-year-old 8th Street Bridge spanning Fourpole Creek. The city agreed to pay 20% of the project's $2.2 million cost, which would be $440,000. City Council members previously allocated money for the bridge's replacement in the fiscal year 2019-2020 budget.
The bridge has been in need of replacement for some time, said Jim Insco, the city's Public Works director. The city has made repairs to the bridge to extend its life, but questions about the bridge's stability remain, he said.
The 8th Street Bridge replacement comes at the same time the state Department of Highways begins replacement of the 5th Street Bridge. However, the city has arranged that the 8th Street Bridge be replaced first, Insco said.
Construction is expected to begin this fall. During construction, the 8th Street Bridge will be closed to traffic and detours will be marked. Crews will keep one lane of the the 5th Street Bridge open during construction, Insco said.
"The 5th Street East Bridge will add a third lane on to the bridge," he said. "They will build to the west so the 5th Street Bridge will at least have one lane remained open at all times."
Also during the meeting, City Clerk Barbara Miller said the city is now accepting applications to fill Brooks' vacancy until Aug. 26. Eligible candidates must be from District 9, which makes up parts of Guyandotte, Altizer and Arlington Park.
In a letter addressed to Bates, Brooks said she chose Monday to resign so she would not receive a check for the month of August.
"I wanted to inform you I have decided it to be in the city's best interest and mine that I resign from City Council District 9 as of today, Aug. 12, 2019, due to my life going in a different direction," Brooks said in the letter.
Brooks said she is leaving $2,500 in micro-grant dollars for the next council member to fill her seat.
"I sincerely wish you the best and thank you all you have given me while serving as a council member and friend," Brooks said.
To apply for Brooks' vacant seat, qualified candidates must be residents of District 9, hold no other public office and agree to remain a resident of the district during the term of office. City Council will interview applicants and select a replacement to fill Brooks' seat at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28. Brooks' term expires on Dec. 31, 2020.
Travis Crum is a reporter for the Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.