CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The Chuck Yeager Bridge on Interstate 64 in Kanawha City is getting a Mountaineer makeover. Contractors have started rigging work for a blue and gold paint job on the twin bridge spanning across the Kanawha River, according to the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH).

The WVDOH released a photo of what the bridge will look like once painting is complete in 2023.

In June 2021, Southern Road and Bridge LLC was given a contract for $16,267,273.80 to repaint the bridge’s northbound and southbound spans.

In December 2022, contractors will clean and paint the steelwork below the bridge decks. The work will require lane closures on US 60 and WV 61. In January 2023, contractors will work on bridge trusses above bridge decks.

The southbound bridge was built in 1952, and the northbound span was built in 1980.

The decision to paint the bridges was made in honor of Chuck Yeager, a West Virginia native who was the first man to officially break the sound barrier. Yeager passed away at age 97 in December 2020.

“The Yeager Bridge is an iconic bridge entering the Kanawha Valley on the West Virginia Turnpike and it is in desperate need of a full painting,” said Jeff Miller, Executive Director of the West Virginia Parkways Authority. “The West Virginia Parkways Authority is proud that Gov. Jim Justice had the vision to honor Yeager, who is one of the greatest West Virginians of all time, by painting this bridge in the official state colors of gold and blue. Not only will this help improve the overall condition and appearance of the bridges, but it is also a simple, yet classy gesture to honor this great West Virginian.”