Saturday, July 24, 2021

1926-1991 8th Street Toll Bridge over Ohio River at Bellaire-Benwood

(Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; see below for satellite)

"Operated as a privately owned toll bridge until 1991 when Ohio DOT cut off the west approach to build a new OH 7. Now owned by KDC investments which is in litigation with three companies who claim they paid for the exclusive scrap rights." [BridgeHunterIndex]

I learned of this cantilever bridge from this photo that I found while researching a steel mill in Benwood, WV.

C Hanchey Flickr via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)

"The bridge was historically and technologically significant as the second oldest highway bridge on the Ohio River that spanned the entire Ohio River, and also for being among the oldest surviving highway cantilever spans in the United States. It was also distinguished as one of the oldest and most unaltered highway cantilever spans in the United States." It has a historic rating of 10/10. The rust is just superficial because salt was never used on the bridge by the toll road owners. Only the concrete deck is falling apart. [HistoricBridges]  So replace the concrete with plastic planking that looks like wood and open it as a trail bridge. The viaduct over Benwood can be torn down and replaced with the type of spiral ramps used for the Big Four Bridge at Louisville so that Benwood quits complaining about the bridge. Building those ramps would probably cost less than the demolition.

Boston Public Library Flickr via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)

I'm saving the satellite image since companies are fighting for the right to scrap this bridge. Since this bridge is made with steel that was probably made from iron ore, as opposed to just scrap steel, it probably would fetch premium scrap steel prices. The bridge still stands in a Mar 2021 Google Earth image. One of the legal issues that has delayed the destruction of the bridge is that the Coast Guard is investigating whether or not Ohio state promised the bridge owner that they would build new ramps for the bridge. Historic Bridges reports that they did use taxpayer money to design new ramps.

This view was taken from the OH-7 road whose construction destroyed the approaches to the bridge on the Ohio side.
Street View, note the WLE/B&O Bridge peaking through underneath the truss

edgar jusionis, May 2021

No comments:

Post a Comment