Save Aetnaville Span

Editor, News-Register:

As a result of an in-depth inspection of the historic Aetnaville Bridge, also known as the Georgia Street Bridge, by professionals from the West Virginia Division of Highways in October 2015, the structure, which had connected Wheeling Island with Aetnaville (Bridgeport) Ohio, since 1881 was closed to pedestrian traffic.

The bridge had been closed to vehicles since 1988.

Until its closing approximately 3 1/2 years ago, the Aetnaville Bridge had long been very popular, being quite commonly utilized by pedestrians and bicyclists traversing across the Ohio River, many out of necessity for shopping or employment, or pleasure, as had I, crossing the wonderful, scenic landmark for my daily exercise walk.

As a result of its closure, it appears that the historic structure will at some point in the future be demolished, and if such is inevitable, the expeditiousness of that procedure should perhaps be considered to take place in the relatively near future, and if/when such is completed, I would like to respectfully request that consideration be granted to the construction of a foot bridge in the area.

However, personally, it is my wish that if at all possible the historic bridge can and will be preserved for pedestrian traffic.

The Aetnaville Bridge has a great deal of historic significance, as it is the last standing such structure in existence in the United States and in the world.

Perhaps funds may be pursued to renovate and preserve this historic landmark through available historic preservation funding sources and, if so, once renovated the Aetnaville Bridge can be promoted as a tourist attraction for the area.

Regardless, it is my hope that the fate of the Aetnaville Bridge does not mirror that of the former Bellaire Bridge, which continues to deteriorate following its closure decades ago.

I realize that the securing of appropriate available funding for the successful completion of the desired project is an issue, but, hopefully, the funding challenges will be resolved, and thee public will be informed of the ultimate plans, respective to this endeavor, along with a timetable for completion in due time.

Richard Hord

Martins Ferry

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