Another year comes to a close today, and as has been the case for the past 20-plus years, the Bellaire toll bridge remains standing. This poses a continued safety threat for residents of Benwood and also those who use the Ohio River.
The bridge, which linked Benwood and Bellaire, is a rusted shell of its former self. It is owned by Krystal Chaklos of KDC Investments and Lee Chaklos of Delta Demolition.
Those firms have been in a dispute with Benwood officials over just how they will go about demolishing the structure. Benwood officials are asking both parties to put up a $500,000 bond to ensure the work is completed once it begins.
We continue to support Benwood officials for working to ensure the job is done safely and in a timely manner. As we've seen with other projects in our area, demolitions can drag on and on, taking weeks or even months more than seems reasonable. Nothing could be worse for this project than to have demolition begin, and then suddenly stop because the price of scrap steel falls, for example.
Make no mistake, the bridge needs to come down sooner rather than later. It would be unacceptable to have the bridge standing at this time next year.