MASON, W.Va. — With a helping hand from Blenko Glass, the lone West Virginia highway bridge equipped with aesthetic lighting is once again showing its colors after spending the past year in the dark.
Opened in 2009, the four-lane, 1,852-foot-long Bridge of Honor spans the Ohio River and connects the town of Mason in Mason County with Pomeroy, Ohio. It was built by the state of Ohio, with West Virginia sharing in development of its design concept. Under an agreement between the two states, Ohio retained ownership of the bridge and covered most of the construction costs, while West Virginia assumed most maintenance responsibilities for the span.
“While we didn’t really want the aesthetic lighting due to its added maintenance costs, Ohio funded it 100 percent, so now it’s ours to take care of,” said Tracy Brown, District 1 bridge engineer for the West Virginia Division of Highways.
The bridge, named in honor of three veterans from nearby communities, came equipped with light fixtures that illuminated the span’s graceful network of cables and support towers in a striking purplish-cobalt blue tint, designed to replicate the color of the Purple Heart medal, awarded to military personnel killed or wounded in combat. The lighting created an iconic night-time scene that quickly became a source of pride for those living in Mason and Pomeroy.
But starting in 2014, a few of the lights began failing to function. By early 2015, at least 40 had gone on the fritz…