Historic Stone Span Is Worth Preserving

Try this, for fun: Go to an engineer and ask her or him to design a highway bridge that will last a century. Be prepared to get laughed out of the office.

It can be done. We in Wheeling are fortunate to have two such bridges. The Suspension Bridge over the Ohio River, built in 1849, is the best-known of the two.

But the Elm Grove Stone Arch Bridge, also known as the Monument Place Bridge, is even older. It was built in 1817.

For more than two centuries, the old bridge has carried traffic — these days weighing much more than what the span was designed for — across Little Wheeling Creek.

But time takes its toll. The bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, needs work. As we have reported, the West Virginia Division of Highways plans to spend $5.8 million restoring it.

Could that much money have been put to other good use on Mountain State highways? Yes.

But were state officials right to decide to restore, rather than replace the stone bridge? Absolutely.

Not everything old can or should be preserved. But our bridge, perhaps the oldest one in West Virginia, is worth saving. Good for DOH officials for seeing it that way.

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