Look to Future Of Our Bridge
Wheeling’s historic Suspension Bridge — our bridge to local residents who understand the span’s significance — has withstood many perils during its 170-year service. But now, heavy vehicles driven by motorists who apparently care not what damage they are doing threaten the bridge’s very existence.
For that reason, state officials plan to close the bridge to vehicular traffic, beginning Tuesday. It is possible a major rehabilitation project planned for sometime during the coming year will make it safe for use by cars and light trucks again.
Let us hope that can be accomplished without endangering the span.
It is not too early to consider the bridge’s future if engineers cannot manage to make it usable for vehicles again, however. It may be that the bridge can never handle cars and trucks again.
Obviously, no risk of damaging the bridge’s structure is permissible. The span is simply too important. It is irreplaceable.
Our bridge has been a contributor to our economy for many years. There is no reason that, even if not open to traffic, it cannot be for many years to come. Local and state officials should begin considering the options so that no time is lost if it is determined the bridge must be “repurposed.”