The original Pomeroy-Mason Bridge was constructed in 1928 and carried U.S. Route 33. The two-lane bridge, which included a sidewalk, was of a Cantilever construction.
In December 2003, the designation of the span was modified to Ohio State Route 833 when the Pomeroy-Ravenswood segment of the relocated U.S. 33 super-two freeway was completed.(13)
On April 24, 2003, the first contract was let for a new $45.6 four-lane cable-stayed suspension bridge (8) to replace the aging span that carried 11,500 vehicles per day.(1)(2)(10)(12) Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on May 9, with an original completion date was set for August 31, 2006. Financing was derived from the state of Ohio, who paid for the entire project.
In July 2005, the Ohio approach was redesigned due to an unforeseen slip that cost $7 million to stabilize the bank, which included the construction of slip protection shafts.(4) With the redesign, the slippage risk was reduced substantially. In November, a twenty-foot section of the West Virginia-side tower had to be removed after the concrete failed strength tests post-drying.(2)(3) The concrete, which was laid by Concrete Cutting and Breaking, Inc., stated that the concrete passed tests when it originated from the batch plant, but was not properly vibrated or was incorrectly poured. As a result, the opening date for the bridge was moved from mid-2007 to August 2007.(6) Another delay was discovered in January 2006, when a form of shale was found embedded in the rock face above what was proposed as the Pomeroy approach to the bridge.(5) The shale can cause problems because once exposed to moisture, it can deteriorate quickly and lead to slippage.
The first of 96 cables for the span were strung across the towers in April.(6)(7) The towers, completed at a height of 248.5 feet above the river and 168 feet above the bridge deck, were poured in 25 segments.(7)(11) The piers extend 90 feet below the surface of the Ohio River bed.(11)
In June, ODOT stated that the Pomeroy-Mason bridge project would cost approximately $54 million, but that figure had risen to $60 million by August.(8) In addition, the expected completion date was moved to mid-2008. The higher costs and the push back on the completion date was the result of several compounding issues regarding the concrete issues on the West Virginia tower, shale found in the hillside above the Pomeroy approach and flooding delays.
Additional delays were forced five months later in November when ODOT made the decision to scrap an old form traveler design and replace it with a redesigned version.(9) The form traveler is a portable framework used to support the newly poured concrete during construction between towers. The original form traveler that was to be used had been recently used on a bridge in Puerto Rico where work was temporarily halted when the form traveler failed.
By November 2008, most of the superstructure was completed,(11) although the estimated price tag on the bridge had risen to $64.7 million. On December 30, the new Pomeroy-Mason Bridge opened to traffic at a cost of $65 million,(12) and was named the “Medal of Honor Bridge” paying homage to distinguished military veterans.
On April 21, 2009, at 8:49 AM, the center span of the old Pomeroy-Mason Bridge was demolished by controlled explosives.(14) Traffic on the Ohio River was halted for 24 hours while the steel superstructure was removed. The remainder of the span was removed by June, with a total cost of removal pegged at $1 million.
The new span features a width of 74.08 ft., with a total span length of 1,852.51 ft.(11) It includes 120 miles of cable, 16 miles of longitudinal deck tendons and 6.9 million pounds of rebar. In comparison, the old cantilver had a 20 ft. bridge deck and a total span length of 1,847.75 ft.
- Total Length (original): 1,847.75 feet
- Total Length (replacement): 1,852.51 feet
- Height (replacement): 248.5 feet above water; 168 feet above deck
- Width (original): 20 feet
- Width (replacement): 74.08 feet
- Lanes (original): 2 with sidewalk
- Lanes (replacement): 4 with sidewalk
- Cost (replacement): $64.7 million
- “Work on Mason bridge shows progress.” Charleston Daily Mail, July 27, 2007. July 27, 2007 Article.
- Maloney, Tim. “Problem with concrete will delay new bridge.” Daily Sentinel (Pomeroy) 25 Nov. 2005. 4 May 2009.
- “Bridge replacement getting back on track.” Daily Sentinel (Pomeroy) 4 Dec. 2005. 4 May 2009.
- Sergent, Beth. “Clearing the way for the Pomeroy bridge approach.” Daily Sentinel (Pomeroy) 18 Dec. 2005. 4 May 2009.
- Sergent, Beth. “Latest snag for new Pomeroy-Mason Bridge construction.” Daily Sentinel (Pomeroy) 19 Jan. 2006. 4 May 2009.
- Maloney, Tim. “New bridge nearly ready for reach across river.” Daily Tribune (Gallipolis) 12 March 2006. 5 May 2009.
- Sergent, Beth. “W.Va. still trailing Ohio on new bridge construction.” Daily Sentinel (Pomeroy) 14 June 2006. 4 May 2009.
- Sergent, Beth. “New bridge cost now at $60 million.” Daily Sentinel (Pomeroy) 13 Aug. 2006. 4 May 2009.
- Sergent, Beth. “Reduced crew on new Pomeroy-Mason Bridge site.” Daily Sentinel (Pomeroy) 6 Dec. 2006. 4 May 2009.
- Hohmann, George. “Construction work of art: Bridge to open next year.” Daily Mail (Charleston) 16 May 2007. 6 May 2009.
- Sergent, Beth. “New bridge named ‘Medal of Honor Bridge’.” Daily Sentinel (Pomeroy) 12 Nov. 2008. 6 May 2009.
- Soto, Cynthia. “‘Bridge of Honor’ opens in Pomeroy.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 30 Dec. 2008. 6 May 2009.
- “U.S. 33 ATHENS TO DARWIN RELOCATION COMPLETED.” Ohio Department of Transportation. N.p., 22 Oct.2004. Web. 6 Dec. 2011. Article.