The former Bridgeport Bridge carried US 40 over a back channel of the Ohio River between Wheeling Island, West Virginia and Bridgeport, Ohio.
The first span at the site, which was designed for the National Road, was proposed by William Lee Barron. Barron had been given a contract of $68,500 to build the bridge, and work began in 1836.4 About half way through construction, Barron had calculated that he would lose money in the venture and stopped work. The Zane brothers resumed work on the bridge and the cornerstone was laid on February 28, 1838, which marked the completion of the bridge.
Upon completion, Canton, Ohio was renamed to Bridgeport.4
In 1893, a new bridge was built for a cost of $65,974.04 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio.4 The new bridge was needed to extend an electric streetcar westward into Ohio from Wheeling, which ultimately followed the National Road and other routes westward to Barton, 15 miles west.The streetcar was discontinued in 1948, and the wooden driving surface was replaced with steel grating in 1950, which was the only modification to the span until the floor beams had become structurally unsound by 1987. A new self-supporting, load-bearing Bailey truss was installed inside the trusses of the bridge as a temporary measure, with the addition being prefabricated in England.
An adjacent steel-girder bridge was built in 1997 and the second iteration of the Bridgeport Bridge was closed to all traffic.1 2 4 In 2009, the self-supporting deck structure was removed, which left the Bridgeport Bridge without a deck.
Throughout the early 2000s, the Bridgeport deteriorated until components of the span began rusting and falling into the Ohio River. Sensing a navigational hazard, the Coast Guard requested that the bridge be removed. In June 2011, Joseph B. Fay Company of Tarentum, Pennsylvania was awarded a demolition contract after submitting a bid of $672,222.2 In mid-August, tree branches and other debris was removed from the bridge and the span was prepared for demolition by removing several structural elements of the bridge. Finally, on the morning of September 12, after approval from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the Coast Guard, Norfolk Southern and the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad, the Bridgeport Bridge was demolished in a controlled implosion.3 4
- Further Reading
- Bridge type: Metal-Pinned Parker Through Truss,
- Number of lanes: 2
- Main Span Length: 209 Feet
- Total Length: 684.5 Feet
- Width: 32.25 Feet
- Video of the implosion from Controlled Demolition, Inc.
- “Bridgeport Bridge, Spanning West Channel of Ohio River, U.S. Route 40, Wheeling, Ohio County, WV.” Historic American Engineering Record. Lib. of Congress. 8 May 2006 Record.
- Reynard, Tyler. “Bridgeport Bridge May Come Down.” Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register 29 Aug. 2011: n. pag. g. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. Article.
- Connors, Fred. “Bridge Comes Tumbling Down.” Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register 13 Sept. 2011: n. pag. g. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. Article.
- Pokas, Betty J. “Long-Sanding Bridgeport Bridge Razed Today.” Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register 12 Sept. 2011: n. pag. g. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. Article.