Bridging The Gap

A PROJECT that has been discussed for nearly a half-century appears that it may finally come to fruition. It is one we do hope becomes a reality as it offers countless benefits.

A plan to construct a new bridge spanning the Ohio River from Brilliant to an area on W. Va. 2 south of Wellsburg is gaining much momentum. At a public meeting at Buckeye North Elementary School Monday the proposal received nearly positive consensus.

And why not? A new span would make sense. It also creates development opportunities on both sides of the river.

Representatives of the West Virginia and Ohio departments of transportation and HDR Engineering of Weirton were on hand. They provided updated information and answered questions.

Brilliant-area residents embraced the latest proposal, unlike an earlier plan.

Blueprints now have the new bridge connecting at Third and Cleaver streets, with a new interchange leading drivers to Ohio 7. The system of ramps leading to and from Ohio 7 would replace the existing Riddles Run interchange. Such a design is much more palatable to local residents.

Previously, a connection at Third and Hudson streets had been considered, but drew opposition because of its proximity to the school, a park and a residential area.

Another meeting was held Tuesday night on the bridge project, this one on the West Virginia side of the river. It also met with positive support.

With all projects of this magnitude, funding holds the key. A new bridge will carry a price tag exceeding $100 million.

Sufficient funding is on hand for engineering and right-of-way work. Officials involved in the project are hoping to secure more federal money to assist the work.

Should efforts to secure additional funds become an issue, it is possible the new span will be a toll bridge. We believe the project makes so much sense that a toll would be a small price to pay for the dividends a new bridge would yield.