CHARLESTON, WV – The WVDOH is seeking a party or organization to take ownership of the historic Aetnaville Bridge, over the back channel of the Ohio River from Wheeling Island, West Virginia to Martins Ferry, Ohio. The Aetnaville Bridge, also known as the Georgia Street Bridge, was built in 1891 by the Youngstown Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio and was formerly owned by the Wheeling Bridge Company. It is a Pennsylvania truss and, like the Baltimore truss, is often referred to as a “petit”, that was developed by engineers of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1875. The Aetnaville Bridge was originally a part of the elaborate streetcar system in Wheeling and was later converted to a toll road for automobile traffic. In June 1953 the bridge became toll-free and continued to be a part of US Route 252 until it was closed in 1988, due to its deteriorating condition.
Any interested organization will be required to submit a preservation and financial plan along with intended use of the historic bridge. The party who acquires this bridge will become the Responsible Entity and must be willing to assume ownership, liability and adhere to all National Bridge Inspections Standards (NBIS), 23CFR part 650 or other structure inspections. The Responsible Entity will be required to obtain necessary approval and clearances including those from the US Coast Guard and US Army Corps of Engineers.
Upon review of all proposals, the party that most clearly defines the intended use, method of rehabilitating the structures, means of securing funds for rehabilitation and shows examples of the ability to construct and provided inspection, will be eligible to become the Responsible Entity. The identification of the Responsible Entity will be based on a subjective review of the submitted documents. If upon notification of selection, the proposed Responsible Entity agrees to take ownership of the Aetnaville Bridge, an agreement will be drafted to finalize the transaction. Approval of all resource and governmental agencies, securing of funds for any necessary construction and bonding, will be required for ownership transfer.
If no party becomes Responsible Entity, demolition of the Aetnaville Bridge will occur through a contract with an appropriate contractor.
Should the Responsible Entity take ownership of the Aetnaville Bridge, WVDOH Demolition Funds allocated for removal of the bridge are not available.
If your organization is interested in assuming ownership of this historic bridge, please contact the West Virginia Division of Highways, RJ Scites, Director of Engineering Division, located at 1334 Smith Street, Charleston, WV 25301. Requests Must Be Submitted By Wednesday, April 15, 2020.