The Veterans Memorial Bridge (New Steubenville Bridge) carries US Route 22 over the Ohio River between Steubenville, Ohio, and Weirton, West Virginia.
In August 1961, the Michael Baker, Jr. Corporation developed a preliminary engineering report on US Route 22 for the state of Ohio. 3 The report considered only the construction of a limited-access freeway from Reeds Mill eastward along Will Creek to the Ohio River at Alikanna 1½ miles north of Steubenville. It was proposed to construct a bridge over the Ohio River into West Virginia at that location. A report completed for the West Virginia Department of Highways (WVDOH) in 1964 recommended a bridge over the Ohio River near the Fort Steuben Bridge, and a limited-access freeway on the hillside northwest of Harmon Creek Valley to Marland Heights. It would include connections to WV Route 2 and OH Route 7.
In 1970, Wilbur Smith & Associates prepared the US 22 Feasibility Study for the WVDOH, the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission, and the Ohio Department of Highways which evaluated six alternative alignments for US Route 22 through Ohio and West Virginia. 3 Four of the alignments would cross the river near the Fort Steuben Bridge, and the other two would cross the river upstream at or near Alikanna. It was heavily favored that a new crossing would be located just south of the Fort Steuben Bridge because of its central location to Steubenville and Weirton. 1 By November 1972, it was determined that an alignment 500 feet downstream from the Fort Steuben Bridge.
The proposed river structure was a unique cable-stayed box girder bridge that would provide 800 feet of horizontal clearance and 69 feet of vertical clearance above a normal pool. 3 It would include two 12-foot lanes in each direction with a 12-foot outside and 6-foot inside shoulder with the ability to restripe the bridge for three lanes in each direction with 3-foot shoulders. The proposed bridge would tie into the ultimate upgrading of US Route 22 in the region, including a freeway (completed in 1972) from Harmon Creek Road in Weirton proceeding eastward toward Pittsburgh and freeway proposals in Ohio.
The cost for the new bridge, a four-lane US Route 22 freeway bypass of Weriton, and interchanges at Cove Road and Weir Avenue was estimated to cost $37.5 million. 2 Broken down, construction costs were estimated at $20.9 million; engineering and contingencies at $3.1 million; right-of-way at $1.9 million; and a six-lane bridge over the river at $11.5 million.
In 1976-77, it was decided that federal financing would cover much of the construction costs of the bridge and associated freeway, thanks in part to an infusion of funds from West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd. 3 4 It was decided that the new crossing would not need to be tolled.
The project received final Federal Highway Administration location and design approval in 1978. 4
Construction of the Michael Baker-designed structure began in mid-1979 with the building of the Ohio River piers by the Dravo Corporation. Once the historic Federal Land Office was relocated in Steubenville in 1982, the five contracts remaining were awarded in the mid-1980s to the Mashuda Corporation, H.J. Schneider Construction Inc., National Engineering & Contracting Inc., Dannis Industries Corporation, and S.J. Groves & Sons. At the time of construction, only three cable-stayed steel girder bridges existed outside of Europe or Japan—in Sitka, Alaska, Luling, Louisiana, and Quincy, Illinois.
Named by a Commissioner’s Order in December 1988, the Veterans Memorial Bridge opened to traffic on May 1, 1990. 4 Slightly different from the original design proposal, the six-lane crossing was built of steel girders with poured-in-place concrete with a single 360-foot inverted Y-shaped concrete tower, with the deck supported by 26 paired cables. By 1993, the final segment of the 4½-mile US Route 22 freeway was completed to Harmon Creek Road, finishing a high-speed link from Cadiz, Ohio to the Pittsburgh International Airport in Pennsylvania at the cost of $125 million, one of the most expensive projects ever undertaken by the state of West Virginia.
- State: Ohio, West Virginia
- Route: US Route 22
- Type: Cable-Stay Suspension
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Total Length: 1,964 feet
- Main Span Length: 820 feet
- Deck Width: 81 feet
- Total Height: 431 feet
- Above Vertical Clearance: 17 feet
- Navigational Clearance:
- “Bridge Meeting Set In Columbus.” Weirton Daily Times, 23 Feb. 1970, pp. 1-2.
- “New 4-Lane Cove Road Included in Phase 3 Plan.” Weirton Daily Times, 18 Nov. 1970, p. 1.
- Final Environmental Impact Statement, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1978.
- “Veterans Memorial (Weirton-Steubenville).” West Virginia Department of Transportation.
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