Cut Speed Limit, Keep Vehicles Off Old Bridge

Editor, News-Register:

Two traffic issues confound the Ohio Valley.

The first issue is the life-threatening, traffic-delaying accidents caused by a preponderance of big rigs speeding on I-70 and I-470 through the county and Wheeling.

The excessive number of big rigs weaving in and out of traffic and motoring at excessive speeds get tangled, terrorize pedestrian motorists, and cause monumental traffic jams, on the interstates and city’s streets.

In a good many states where the number of big rigs overwhelm highways, therefore, the maximum speed for vehicles pulling trailers is 55 mph; this is strictly enforced by law enforcement, subsequently reducing the number of big rig fatalities and traffic-blocking pileups.

In my view, it becomes the responsibility of the Wheeling City Council and the Ohio County Supervisors to petition the state Department of Transportation to set a 55mph maximum speed on all interstates and state routes for vehicles pulling trailers, especially on the West Virginia expressways between Pennsylvania and Ohio in the upper Ohio Valley.

The second issue pertains to the antebellum icon — the Suspension Bridge — revered by a nation — and the continual damage caused by recalcitrant drivers hitting the superstructure or ignoring the weight limitations or ignoring the minimum distance between vehicles or ignoring vehicle-size limitations. These infractions always cause inspections, subsequent repair, and cessation of traffic.

In my view the venerable Suspension Bridge should become a pedestrian-only bridge — a foot-only thoroughfare with food, curio, and entertainment venues set up on the two-way passage.

The Fort Henry Bridge can accommodate the diverted traffic flow. Casino and stadium personnel will howl foul but will see no drop in attendance.

If this proposal is too advanced for the city’s politicians, another option exists: Make the Suspension Bridge a toll bridge, eliminating overweight vehicles and enumerated drivers, and in the doing, realize revenue to maintain the bridge and employ 24/7 attendants.

Sonny Fair

Wheeling

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