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Listen to Public On Bridge Plans

Local and state officials are making plans to replace the Washington Avenue Bridge in Wheeling. A crucial decision has to be made — and public opinion should be the guiding factor.

As we reported last week, two options are available. One, with a price tag of slightly more than $7.3 million, would close the existing span, demolish it, then install a replacement.

At more than $8.7 million, another plan would keep one lane of the existing bridge open while a replacement is constructed, one lane at a time.

Wheeling’s share of the project is 20%, so the second option would cost local taxpayers nearly $290,000 more.

City officials are considering how closure and removal of the bridge would affect emergency services. Obviously, the time to transport patients from a large section of the city to Wheeling Hospital would be increased.

Members of the public will be able to let the state Division of Highways know their preference at some point before a decision is made.

Because residents in the affected area know better than anyone how closure of the bridge would affect them, their preference should carry decisive weight in deciding which option to adopt.

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