The West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) recently announced that the project to repair and rehabilitate the historic Wheeling Suspension Bridge has been awarded.
WVDOH awarded a contract for $17,907,147 to Advantage Steel & Construction LLC to make necessary repairs to the bridge’s superstructure and substructure, replace any damaged suspension cables, renovate lighting, and clean and paint the span, according to a press release.
“This bridge is a landmark piece of our state’s history, and I am fully committed to doing all we can to preserve it for generations to come," Gov. Jim Justice said in a statement. "Through our work on this project, we will restore the bridge back to its historic beauty so it can continue to connect the great community of Wheeling to the world for generations to come."
The 1,300-ft span connects the city of Wheeling with Wheeling Island and opened in 1849. It was originally part of the National Road, the first major improved highway in the U.S. that ran from Maryland to Illinois. It was the main passageway to the West and was the largest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its construction.
The bridge has been closed to vehicles since September 2019, after drivers repeatedly ignored DOH weight restrictions and warnings on the structure, the WVDOH said. The bridge had been damaged early in 2019 after a tour bus that far exceeded the posted two-ton weight limit tried to cross, only to get stuck under a barrier. Contractors will repair and renovate the bridge in hopes of repairing it to the point where it can be reopened to motorists.
“This bridge is an icon,” Deputy Commissioner of Highways Jimmy Wriston said in a statement. “Being able to preserve that structure is important, not only to the city of Wheeling but to the state as a whole.”
SOURCE: Office of Gov. Jim Justice