Opportunity, support, celebration, and connection were a few of the common words spoken by Wellsburg area residents on the latest episode of the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) podcast, “WV on the DOT,” when describing the historic Wellsburg Bridge.
The episode, which is now available on most podcast providers, was recorded on the Wellsburg Bridge during the bridge’s grand opening celebration on Wednesday, September 21, 2023. The celebration included remarks from Gov. Jim Justice and WVDOT Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the northern panhandle,” said Barbara Miller, a resident of Windsor Heights in Brooke County. “We’ll use this bridge to go to the malls more easily. My granddaughter recently got a job in Steubenville, Ohio so I am really happy she’ll be able to use this bridge every day and shorten her route.”
|The 1,875-foot Wellsburg Bridge connects the communities of Wellsburg, West Virginia, and Brilliant, Ohio. For decades, the local community has worked together, reaching out to try to secure funding for the bridge. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice placed roads and bridges at the center of economic recovery for the region, making that dream a reality for Wellsburg. |
“There are a lot of people here supporting their community and ready for this new connection,” said Rowdy Workman, of Shadyside, Ohio.
Workman grew up in Moundsville, West Virginia. Workman participated in the grand opening ceremony, presenting the colors when Gov. Jim Justice arrived.
The celebration featured a car show, food trucks, bands, fireworks, and more. The day was coordinated with many local and state partners including the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce.
“It was wonderful to see everything we have worked for with setting up the celebration come to fruition,” said Tresa Thomas of the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce. “This event went so well. We have so many people in attendance. I’ve had people come up to me and start crying because it means a lot to them.”
Della Serevicz, of the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce, also appeared on the podcast and said, “I am so excited and so overwhelmed. I can’t believe after all these years, it is finally here and has come together. To see the people the excitement and the tears, it makes your heart smile.”
The 830-foot main span of the bridge was built off-site on the bank of the Ohio River just upstream from the bridge site by Flatiron Construction of Broomfield, Colorado. Flatiron won the $131 million contract to build the new bridge.
“The bridge is here because of the community on both sides of the river,” said Mike Swinson, of Flatiron Construction, on the podcast. “These folks have been wanting this bridge, this connection for decades. They are the genesis of this. Working with West Virginia DOT and Ohio DOT, this bridge got the funding and Flatiron was selected to deliver the bridge.”
On Monday, April 26, 2021, the 830-foot main span was lifted onto two pairs of barges and moved into position in a massive, 13-and-a-half-hour operation. It was the largest bridge floating project ever attempted in North America. The bridge was supported on the barges by eight sets of sectional pilings. Once in place, it was slowly jacked up and additional pylons were set underneath until it was high enough to rest on its support piers.
Gov. Justice’s $2.8 billion Roads to Prosperity bridge and highway maintenance and construction program freed up money to complete the massive bridge project.
“There is a bridge here with a party on top of it. It’s an amazing day for the northern panhandle,” said Wriston on the podcast. “The connectivity that this is going to bring between Wellsburg, West Virginia, and Brilliant, Ohio will be felt for the next 100 years. This is fantastic.”