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Saving Suspension Bridge Imperative

Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott is far from alone in viewing our city’s historic Suspension Bridge as a treasure that must be saved. Many thoughtful local residents understand the bridge is more than just a huge steel-and-stone structure.

It certainly is true the span, more than 170 years old, is historic. Troops marched across it during the Civil War. When built, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

History and architectural significance alone ought to be enough to preserve the bridge — but it is important to Wheeling’s future, too.

Motorists on Interstate 70 can see the span. Used wisely, it can be a significant attraction for visitors to the downtown business district as well as a working segment of the local transportation network.

Just a few weeks ago, Elliott told MetroNews the city will “do whatever it takes” to save the bridge.

Unfortunately, the final say on the span’s future lies with state officials. Last fall, they sought bids on repair and renovation of the bridge — and they came in at $17.7 million, roughly twice estimates for the project. State Division of Highways officials plan to rethink the project and seek new bids.

Let us hope lower bids can be obtained. One way or another, however, not preserving the bridge would be an irreparable disservice to Wheeling — and the entire state.

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