By BETTY?POKAS, Times Leader Area Editor
SOON, the Bellaire Toll Bridge will be no more. It’s been 17 years since another span across the Ohio River in this area was taken down, and it was the Wheeling Bridge & Terminal Co. bridge at Martins Ferry.
The toll bridge in Bellaire was closed to traffic in 1991, and the railroad bridge at Martins was closed to trains in March of 1982.
I remember watching the explosion when the railroad bridge was destroyed in 1993.
I accompanied Kelly Klubert and Tom Powell, who worked for The Times Leader at that time, as we searched for a good viewing point of the bridge.
After we tried various locations, someone told us of a nearby public building where we could see the explosions from a rooftop.
Taking an elevator to the top floor of that structure, we then were confronted with a ladder, constructed of iron rungs, leading to the roof.
With my fears of heights, I let everyone else go first before I summoned up enough courage to climb the ladder.
I had a notebook in one hand and didn’t want to get off the ladder at the top.
As a result, my vantage point of the bridge was through a hole in the roof.
It, however, was a great location for memorable sights, which helped to mark the end of an era.
THE WHEELING Bridge & Terminal Co. span stood serenely at the end of the railroad right of way in Martins Ferry for more than a century. Tracks and rails leading to the bridge were ripped from their moorings in 1989, but the bridge remained until 1993.