The Memorial Bridge is a toll bridge between Belpre, Ohio and Parkersburg, West Virginia. It was once proposed to be part of a U.S. Route 50 bypass of Parkersburg.
Dedicated on January 12, 1954 to “all veterans of all wars,” Memorial Bridge was completed for $6.5 million and included a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Col. C.E. Morrison, the oldest veteran in the region. Over 1,000 attended the events, and within the first six hours, 2,200 vehicles crossed the bridge – each at a toll rate of 15 cents.(4) The new bridge featured a Cantilevered Warren through truss and two polygonal Warren through trusses. The bridge was one of two spans that were proposed at the site, which would have carried U.S. Route 50 to the proposed bypass through North Parkersburg.(1) The twin span proposal, which would have carried one direction of traffic on each span, would have connected to the then-proposed U.S. Route 50 and Ohio State Route 7 freeway westward from the bridge.
In 1964, the U.S. Route 50 and Ohio State Route 7 freeway was completed from Memorial Bridge westward to Ohio State Route 555 at Redbush.(2)
In 1974, tolls were increased to 35 cents, which caused a temporary drop in traffic.(3) In 1979, when the new Parkersburg-Belpre Bridge opened, traffic again declined but rebounded soon after.
In 2000, the original construction bonds of Memorial Bridge was paid off.(1) But during that time, it was decided to pass on ownership of the bridge to Parkersburg. In order to keep the span’s upkeep from becoming a burden to the community, the tolls were left in place to cover maintenance costs and to pay for the bridge to eventually be removed when it is declared structurally obsolete. Excess money was diverted for city-wide paving projects.
On February 1, 2010, tolls were increased to 50 cents, causing traffic to decline on the span temporarily – as was the case for the prior toll hikes.(3)
- Total Length: 2,555 feet
- Longest Span Length: 700 feet
- Width: 28 feet
- Vertical Clearance: 30 feet
- Number of lanes: 2
- Sheppard, Roger. “Memorial Bridge Tolls.” Roger Sheppard Editorial. WTAP-5, 5 Feb. 2010. Web. 6 Dec.2011. Article.
- Ohio Bridge Database.
- Baucher, Todd, rept. Declines, Then Increases. WTAP, Parkersburg, 7 Dec. 2010. WTAP News. Web. Transcript. 6 Dec. 2011. Article.
- Little, Christy, and Jeff Little. “Bridges, Boats and Streetcars.” Parkersburg in Vintage Postcards. N.p.: Arcadia, 2005. 122. Print.