The Montgomery Bridge carries unsigned West Virginia Route 6 over the Kanawha River between Montgomery and Smithers, West Virginia.
Efforts to build a bridge between Montgomery and the Midland Trail in Cannelton (later renamed Smithers) started in response to a local committee’s request led by the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. 1 Their goal was to improve trade by connecting the coal mining communities on the north side of the river to Montgomery and replacing an overwhelmed ferry. In 1908, the Montgomery and Cannelton Bridge Company was established by business leaders.
After securing sufficient private funding, the construction of the bridge began in April 1909. 1 The new bridge, known as the Montgomery and Cannelton Bridge, featured a Pennsylvania through truss main span. It was built by the Oswego Bridge Company of New York at a cost of $90,000 and officially opened on June 10, 1910, 1 connecting Lee Street in Montgomery to the Midland Trail.
The Montgomery and Cannelton Bridge was initially tolled, but it was acquired by the State Road Commission in 1928 and converted into a toll-free bridge. 8 11
In the early 1950s, plans for a new bridge were initiated, exploring three potential options. 6 “Tentative Location A” proposed a bridge connecting US Routes 21 and 60 near Smithers and WV Route 61 at the split of Fayette Pike and Gaines Street in Montgomery. “Alternative Location B” suggested a bridge placed next to the crossing at Lee Street in Montgomery. “Alternative Location C” proposed a bridge situated between US Routes 21 and 60 at Staten Run and Fourth Avenue, spanning Adams and Washington Streets in Montgomery.
While a location was studied, the design was completed by the State Road Commission and Modjeski & Masters of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with a final design finished by 1955. Construction was then initiated by the John F. Beasley Company of Texas for the substructure and Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Company of St. Louis, Missouri for the superstructure in 1956. The new state-built crossing, spanning 1,260 feet, featured a Warren through truss main span. 1 2 3 After several delays because of work that needed to be done on the Montgomery side and the delay i the arrival of hand rails, 10 the new bridge was completed on March 14, 1957, at a cost of $4,875,000. 1 2 3
The State Road Commission offered to sell the bridge to anyone interested in dismantling it for scrap for $1.00, 8 but it went unsold and was later demolished in 1963 by the Crain Brothers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 9 They were awarded the contract with a winning bid of $69,500, and the entire project was funded by the state. On July 25, the main span was pulled into the river by a derrick boat. 11
The new Montgomery Bridge 4 initially linked US Routes 21 and 60 (Midland Trail) at Smithers to WV Route 61 at Third Avenue in Montgomery. Plans were unveiled in 1965 to complete the bridge to WV Route 61 and to reconstruct WV Route 61 from the Montgomery Bridge to County Route 61/10 on the western end of town 5 which was completed in 1967.
In 2001, the Montgomery Bridge was redesignated the Earl M. Vickers Memorial Bridge after a local politician. 12
The Earl M. Vickers Memorial Bridge underwent a significant rehabilitation project starting on April 12, 2021. 7 Triton Construction was awarded a $15,257,200 contract on January 22. The project encompassed structural repairs, replacing the bridge over US Route 60, constructing a new roadway deck, upgrading signs and lighting, spot painting steel structures, and installing new bridge sidewalk railings.
- State: West Virginia
- Route: WV Route 6 (unsigned)
- Type: Warren Through Truss
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Total Length: 1,260' (1957); 850' (1910)
- Main Span Length: 486' (1957); 450' (1910)
- Roadway Width: 28' (1957)
- Above Vertical Clearance: 17.2' (1957)
- Navigational Clearance: 52' (1957); 62' (1910)
- Holliday, Robert Kelvin. “Montgomery.” A Portrait of Fayette County, Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, WV, 1960, pp. 42-44.
- Holliday, Robert Kelvin. “Montgomery.” A Portrait of Fayette County, Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, WV, 1960, pp. 28, 44.
- Donnelly, C. Shirley. “Kanawha River Bridges at Montgomery” Historical Notes on Fayette County, W. Va., 1958, p. 91-92.
- “Montgomery Bridge Federal Project: F283(5).” State Road Commission, 1958.
- “Morris Creek – Montgomery Relocation in Fayette and Kanawha County Federal Project: F-283(16).” State Road Commission, 1965.
- “Montgomery Bridge and Approaches Federal Project: FA-283(2).” State Road Commission, 1951.
- “Bridge work to begin April 12 in Montgomery.” Montgomery Herald, 1 Apr. 2021.
- Morgan, John G. “Bridge For Sale.” Sunday Gazette-Mail, 20 Sept. 1959, p. C2.
- “Hot Line.” Charleston Daily Mail, 18 Nov. 1971, p. 21.
- “Montgomery Bridge Completion Delayed.” Beckley Post-Herald, 23 Oct. 1956, p. 12.
- Marston, John. “Montgomery’s Displaced River Span Razed with Splash.” Charleston Daily Mail, 25 Jul. 1963, p. 1.
- “SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 18.” WEst Virginia State Legislature.