WELLSBURG, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Now that the 830-foot main span of the Wellsburg Bridge has been floated down the Ohio River and lifted onto its pilings, much work remains before the bridge will open to the public.
With the main span in place, construction crews must still complete a retaining wall and backfill on the West Virginia side of the bridge, finish pier work on the West Virginia side, complete the approach span on the Ohio side of the bridge, and tie both ends of the span into existing roadways. Concrete for the main span of the bridge also must still be poured.
The bridge is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2022.
Once complete, the bridge will connect the community of Wellsburg, West Virginia, with Brilliant, Ohio. The bridge will drastically reduce travel time between the two communities, provide a new river crossing for commerce, and provide another way across the river if work needs to be done on neighboring spans.
Local officials also believe the new bridge will spur economic development in the area.
Flatiron Corporation, of Broomfield, Colorado, won the $131 million contract to build the new bridge. Flatiron decided to build the main span of the bridge on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River and float the bridge into place downstream on completion.
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.
The bridge was supported on the barges by eight sets of sectional pilings. Once in place, it was slowly jacked up and additional pilings set underneath until it was high enough to rest on its support piers.
“They alternate lifting it up, putting in more sections, and lowering it back down; kind of like Lincoln Logs,” said Tony Clark, District 6 Engineer with the West Virginia Division of Highways.
“I think back to when Governor Jim Justice and our West Virginia Department of Transportation upper management visited the site before any of this was constructed,” Clark continued. “The vision was clear then of what this would bring to our area. But on Monday, when the bridge was moved into place, it was such a special feeling. That’s an event that will live on in the minds of everyone in this valley for generations.”