Celebrating the Bridge

Editor, News-Register:

I would like to take this opportunity to respectfully pay homage to the wonderful and historic structure known as the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, which recently was celebrated for the 170th anniversary of its opening, while remaining very viable and productive, as it continues to be quite heavily utilized by vehicular traffic and pedestrians alike.

One can only imagine the great number of individuals and their respective modes of transportation who have traversed this historic landmark during its many generations of productive existence.

The construction of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, which began in 1847 and was completed in 1849, was accomplished under the leadership of the very highly renowned civil engineer, Charles Ellet Jr. (1810-1862).

It spans 1,010 feet across the Ohio River from Wheeling to Wheeling Island, West Virginia, and was the longest such structure in the world upon its completion, at a reported cost of $250,000.

In addition, Mr. Ellet was considered a foremost advocate for the construction of wire suspension bridges, and his building and completion of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge reportedly placed him in the “exalted position of being the foremost expert in the construction of wire suspension bridges during his illustrious career.”

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge remains the oldest working suspension bridge in the western hemisphere, and is a national historic and civil engineering landmark and icon.

Personally, I have traversed the Wheeling Suspension Bridge and continue to do so, as a lifelong Ohio Valley resident, and am amazed and grateful that the structure continues to be so very viable over its 170 years of existence, and am particularly grateful to those responsible for its construction, as well as those who have contributed to its upkeep over the years.

Also, I am most mindful and respectful of the historic significance, viability and long-time positive impact the Wheeling Suspension Bridge has had on the area during its many decades of service.

Hopefully, the viability of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge will continue for many years to come, as it is certainly a most rare and wonderful treasure, indeed.

Richard Hord

Martins Ferry


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