The Fort Henry Bridge carries Interstate 70 and US Routes 40 and 250 over the main channel of the Ohio River in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Originally named the Ninth Street Bridge, 3 the Fort Henry Bridge was proposed to relieve traffic on the Wheeling Suspension Bridge and the Ohio Street Bridge. 1 2 Designed by Howard, Needles, Tammen, and Bergendoff, 7 contracts to build the four-lane crossing were let to the American Bridge Company 4 and the Dravo Corporation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 5
It took four years and $6.8 million, or $1.8 million over budget, to construct the Fort Henry Bridge. 5 Dedicated by Governor William C. Marland in front of a crowd of 60,000 people, it opened to traffic on September 8, 1955. 1 6 7 At the time of completion, the bridge was only the second tied arch over the Ohio River. 7
The new Fort Henry Bridge carried four lanes of US Routes 40 and 250 from Wheeling Island to downtown Wheeling over the main channel of the Ohio River. 1 2
With the advent of the federal Interstate Highway System in 1957, plans were formed to construct a four-lane tunnel through Wheeling Hill, along with a viaduct over Wheeling Island and a bridge over the backchannel of the Ohio River to connect the bridge to Ohio. With the completion of the Wheeling Tunnel and the viaduct in 1966, the Interstate 70 designation was applied to the Fort Henry Bridge. 8
The Fort Henry Bridge underwent rehabilitation in 2021-22 as part of a $214 million project, funded through the state’s Roads to Prosperity Program, to renovate 26 different bridges along the Interstate 70 corridor from the Ohio and the Pennsylvania state lines. 9 10 The structure received structural repairs, a new concrete driving surface, replaced or repaired barrier walls, and a new coat of paint. The adjoining viaduct through Wheeling Island received an entirely new superstructure. The project was completed in December 2022.
- State: West Virginia
- Route: Interstate 70, US Route 40, US Route 250
- Type: Steel Arch
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Total Length: 1,660 feet
- Main Span Length: 577 feet
- Deck Width: 53 feet
- Navigational Clearance:
- “$6.8 Million Bridge to Open at Wheeling”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8 Sept. 1955, p. 2.
- “Historic National Road – West Virginia: Driving Directions.” America’s Byways, 8 May 2009.
- Carney, William A. and Brent Carney. Wheeling. Arcadia Publishing, Nov. 2003, p. 44.
- “Dizzy Photos.” Pittsburgh Press, 3 Oct. 1954, p. 8.
- “Dravo Firm Low on Wheeling Span Piers.” Portsmouth Times, 2 Aug. 1951, p. 14.
- “New River Bridge at Wheeling Open.” Toledo Blade, 9 Sept.1955. p. 6.
- Holth, Nathan. “Fort Henry Bridge.” HistoricBridges.org, 1 Aug. 2010.
- “New Tunnel at Wheeling Opens.” Washington Observer, 12 Dec. 1966. p. 1
- Hanson, Shelley. “I-70 Bridges Project Is Nearing Finish Line.” The Intelligencer, Wheeling News-Register, 6 Dec. 2022.
- Flatley, Jake. “Ohio County Bridges Project along I-70 ‘in the homestretch’ as bulk of work completed.” WV Metro News, 19 Oct. 2022.