Bridge Work

‘TIS THE season to raze Ohio Valley bridges.

The Bellaire Interstate Toll Bridge has long been targeted for demolition. The deteriorating span, now with ownership issues in the rear-view mirror, is scheduled to come down late this fall.

All that needs done to pave the way for the work to commence is approval from the City of Benwood. We don’t expect the needed paperwork to prove problematic.

Now just a few miles up river, a second bridge may soon come tumbling down. Just as is the case with the Bellaire structure, the old Bridgeport Bridge is one that is long overdue in coming down.

The span once linked the Bulldog community with Wheeling Island, and helped U.S. 40 serve as the “Gateway to the West.” The 108-year-old structure has long been dormant, becoming more of an unsafe eyesore with each passing day.

As is the case with the toll bridge down river, the Bridgeport span is nothing more than a major hazard waiting to take place. It is a risk that needs removed, and that appears on the threshold of taking place.

The overgrown and unsightly foliage has been removed from the Bridgeport Bridge to pave the way for demolition, tentatively scheduled to start Sept. 12. A Tarentum, Pa. firm has been awarded the contract via its $672,222 bid.

The Bridgeport demolition is slated to be completed by Oct. 31. We hope such a timetable is an accurate one, and not take on a life of its own as has been the case with the Bellaire Bridge.

Timely removal is only one piece of the bridge razing puzzle. More importantly is for both bridges to be demolished in safe fashion.

The Bridgeport span is located in close proximity to its three-lane replacement. Additionally, several structures are precariously situated nearby on both sides of the back channel.

Thus, too many precautions cannot be taken.

While some may view the two aging bridges as landmarks, we believe both have outlived their usefulness and should come down for safety and scenic reasons.