|WV Press Release Sharing |
WELLSBURG, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice, West Virginia Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston, P.E., federal, state, and local officials took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate the grand opening of the 1,875-foot Wellsburg Bridge connecting the communities of Wellsburg, W.Va., and Brilliant, Ohio.
Hundreds of people joined in the festivities on the bridge, which will open to vehicular traffic on the Thursday morning.
“This is an incredible day for both Wellsburg and Brilliant because we are finally opening a bridge connecting these two communities that is long overdue,” Gov. Justice said. “This bridge is going to make life better for everyone who travels through West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle.This is truly an incredible day, and I’m proud to see another bridge project across the finish line. The bridge might be in the Northern Panhandle, but this is a great day for all of West Virginia.”
|Flatiron Construction, headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, was awarded an approximately $131 million contract for construction of the new bridge. The 830-foot main span of the bridge was built off-site on the bank of the Ohio River just upstream from the bridge site.|
“Once again, the Governor here is to cut a ribbon on a project that has lingered and lingered and lingered,” Secretary Wriston said. “The biggest question I have had to answer recently is, ‘why now, why now?’ The answer is very simple. In 2016, we elected the most dynamic governor in our state’s history, who had a vision to put transportation at the forefront of our economic recovery. He is a Governor who is transforming our economy, diversifying our economy, and building the infrastructure that West Virginians and Ohioans deserve and appreciate.”
|Construction began in 2018. On Monday, April 26, 2021, the 4,100-ton main span was hefted onto two sets of barges, floated downstream to the bridge site, and slowly jacked up to rest on its support piers. The operation took more than 13 hours.|
“If you check your history, this bridge was the heaviest lift in North America when it occurred,” Randy Damron, West Virginia Department of Transportation Spokesman said. “At that time three years ago, it was a really big deal that Flatiron was able to do that. This is nothing short of an engineering marvel.”
|The bridge will drastically reduce travel time between the two communities, provide a new river crossing for commerce, spur economic development on both sides of the Ohio River, and provide another way across the river if work needs to be done on neighboring spans.|
“What a turnout,” Jim Schneiderman, a Flatiron representative, said. “I’ve been to a few of these bridge openings, and this is by far the biggest turnout I have ever attended. Projects like this are not easy, and we are proud to have been part of the Wellsburg Bridge.”
“A large project like this does not happen overnight, and it takes a lot of time, effort, and money,” Jeff Blanton, Federal Highways representative, said. “I heard on local news reports that this bridge has been talked about for over 100 years. That is a nice context to understand how long a bridge has been needed in this region.”
“The construction of the Wellsburg Bridge will have a lasting impact for years and years to come,” Tom Corey, an Ohio Department of Transportation representative, said. “Transportation is a vital aspect of our daily routines, and this project aligns with ODOT’s mission to provide a transportation system that is safe, accessible, well-maintained, and positioned for the future.”
“Through the years, many groups of people have tried to bring this project to fruition,” State Senator Ryan Weld said. “Finally, we are linked: Wellsburg and Brilliant, West Virginia, and Ohio. It is a tremendous honor to represent this area and be your Senator on this day.”
“I would like to echo the sentiments we have already heard today,” State Delegate Jimmy Willis said. “Thank you to Flatiron, the West Virginia Department of Highways, and the Ohio Department of Transportation for all of the great work and effort they have put into this bridge. I would also like to thank the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce, who spent hours and hours putting this day together, and I think they did a pretty good job.”