Construction Project Bridges Lilly History
A bridge commemorating a village settled in Summers County in 1772, is being replaced. But the project is providing more than just a new bridge for vehicle traffic.
Andy Powell, District 9 Project Engineer for the West Virginia Division Highways says the bridge needed to be replaced for safety and financial reasons.
The height and weight limits are set for trucks during the 1950’s. Powell points out that trucks are larger these days. The new bridge will be stronger and be able to carry heavier loads.
The $29 million project will also give a boost to the recreational community. The material that’s being taken basically off a mountain to widen the road will be relocated to help provide a wider boating dock area. The current lake access off of route 20 is said to have a steep angle that’s tough to navigate.
The 1200 feet long bridge is expected to open to traffic by summer of 2015, completion of the whole project is set for completion by June 30, 2016.
The existing Lilly Bridge was built in 1950. The bridge was built around the same time as the Bluestone Dam when about 50 families were forced to move because the federal government worried that the creation of the dam would flood the Village of Lilly, hence the name the Lilly Bridge.
According to the Lilly Family History records, Lilly was a Village at the Bluestone and Little Bluestone Rivers in Summers County settled in 1772.
“It was said that they came here with a rifle, a bible and an ax to settle this rugged area,” National Park Ranger Teena Lilly said in the West Virginia Public Broadcasting documentary “Three Rivers”.
“The graves were exhumed, families were moved, and homes were torn down because they believed that Lilly would be under water.”
Very little remains of the actual village since the Federal Government forced residents off the land. The family is left with the bridge and a monument to remember their homeland. The new bridge will keep the Lilly name.