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Chelyan Bridge

Chelyan Bridge

The Chelyan Bridge carries WV Route 61N over the Kanawha River in Chelyan, West Virginia.

The original Chelyan Bridge was constructed across the Kanawha River at Chelyan in 1928-29 to connect the growing communities along the upper Kanawha Valley. 1 Designed by the J.E. Greiner Company of Baltimore, Maryland, and erected by the General Contracting Corporation for the Midland Trail-Kanawha River Bridge Company at the cost of $592,112.73, the seventeen-span crossing consisted of three cantilevered Pennsylvania through trusses, with a 450′ main span flanked by two 200′ spans, a 13-span, 487′ south approach viaduct, and an 18′ north approach span over railroad tracks. Its piers were arranged to facilitate barge traffic that flowed into the nearby Lock No. 4 along the Kanawha.

The Chelyan Bridge was a tolled structure and a toll house on the south end provided shelter for toll collectors. 1 Tolls were removed in 1946 when the crossing was acquired by the West Virginia State Road Commission for $431,900.

A new concrete deck was replaced the original wearing surface in 1963 and a new sidewalk was constructed in 1970. 1 Deteriorated components, including diagonals, laterals, sway frames, the ends of stringers, and decking were replaced in 1985-88 to strengthen the bridge and extend its lifespan by ten years. By the 1990s, the Chelyan Bridge had only a 12-ton weight limit, down from 40 tons.

Construction of a new Chelyan Bridge began in May 1995. Designed by HDR Engineering of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the $25.9 million crossing opened to traffic on June 30, 1997. 2


  • State: West Virginia
  • Route: WV Route 61N
  • Type: Warren Through Truss
  • Status: Active - Automobile
  • Total Length: 1,355 feet (1929); 2,224 feet (1995)
  • Main Span Length: 450 feet (1929); 594 feet (1995)
  • Spans:
  • Deck Width: 56 feet (1995)


  1. Wilson, Michael K. “Chelyan Bridge.” Historic American Engineering Record, 16 Nov. 1993.
  2. Admiral T. J. Lopez Bridge.” Modern Steel Construction. Sept. 1998.

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