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Pedestrians, Bicyclists Can Still Cross Wheeling Suspension Bridge

WHEELING — Wheeling resident John Nice walks across the Wheeling Suspension Bridge on a regular basis, but he doesn’t want to drive it.

Nice was among a number of people spotted near the Wheeling Suspension Bridge Friday reflecting on how its upcoming closure might affect them.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation announced Friday the bridge will close to all vehicular traffic beginning Tuesday, and the closure likely will last for at least a year. Pedestrians and bicyclists will be permitted to use the bridge.

“It doesn’t really affect me because I don’t drive the bridge.” Nice said. “It seems scary and unsafe. I just walk it.”

An employee at Island Coffee, located near the entrance to the bridge on the Wheeling Island side, said past closures have cut down on business. She didn’t wish to be named.

“There are people going back and forth, and it’s still good for walkers,” she said. “The last time it closed there were a lot of people who came by as tourists. So who knows? Maybe it won’t be all bad.”

Barbara Burge of Wheeling uses a wheelchair, and often takes it across the Suspension Bridge.

“It won’t affect me as long as there is pedestrian use,” she said. “For motorists, it’s going to be hectic — especially when they start work on the tunnel and the (Fort Henry) bridge.”

Work to rehabilitate bridges along Interstate 70 in Ohio County is expected to start soon and continue for the next three years.

A neighborhood resident thought about that as she removed groceries from her car to take inside.

“It will affect us greatly,” said the women, who didn’t wish to be identified. “Just wait until the Interstate 70 project starts. We’ll have to deal with it every single day.”

Another woman walked with her young son along the river near the House of the Carpenter.

“I don’t live here on the Island, but I have a friend who does,” she said. “We live in Wheeling, and it is a little bit of an inconvenience to drive around and come in (off the I-70 exit). But we’re moving to Ohio next month.”

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