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Bridges a Concern

Editor, News-Register:

I am most curious as to what may be the future status of the historic Aetnaville Bridge, also known as the Georgia Street Bridge, which originally opened in 1891, connecting Aetnaville, Ohio, with Wheeling Island, West Virginia over the Ohio River. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 1988, as a result of “serious structural concerns.” However, the structure remained open for pedestrian traffic until its complete closure in January 2016.

Since the quite popular and very scenic bridge has now been closed for approximately five years to all types of traffic, I am curious as to what the future may hold for the structure. The closing has been more than an inconvenience for those who regularly traverse the area, as crossing over on the Bridgeport Bridge could prove quite dangerous to pedestrians, as the area is quite heavily traveled by vehicles.

Some time ago, it was suggested that the historic structure was beyond repair and would have to be demolished, possibly to be replaced by a foot bridge for pedestrian traffic only.

If such is indeed the case, I would hope that the project would be completed in the relatively near future, with a commemorative plaque being placed at the bridge’s former site to acknowledge the long-time historical presence of what had been the Aetnaville Bridge.

It would be sad, indeed, if the fate of the Aetnaville Bridge comes to resemble that of the former Bellaire Bridge.

Also, the fate of the most historic Wheeling Suspension Bridge, which opened in 1848 and has been awarded the title of being the oldest working suspension bridge in the western hemisphere, remains somewhat uncertain as well. It has remained closed to all but pedestrian traffic since September 2019, due to structural concerns. However, it has recently been reported that bids for the renovation of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge are being pursued aggressively.

Hopefully, positive news on both areas of concern will be forthcoming in the not-too-distant future.

Richard Hord

Martins Fer

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