The Wellsburg Bridge is a tied-arch bridge under construction between Brilliant, Ohio, and Wellsburg, West Virginia.
The determination of a need for a new Ohio River crossing between the Fort Steuben Bridge between Weirton, West Virginia, and Steubenville, Ohio, and the Fort Henry Bridge between Wheeling, West Virginia, and Bridgeport, Ohio, was an outgrowth of the Brooke Hancock Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission 2020 Regional Transportation Plan that was adopted in January 1998. 1 It identified that a new crossing should be a top-priority transportation project.
PKG Consultants completed a Phase I Report in June 2000, which noted that both the Fort Steuben Bridge and Market Street Bridge were past their design life and had weight limits. 1 A Phase II Report, which explored alternatives for bridge crossings developed on preliminary engineering analysis, led to seven alternatives in September 2003. A Phase III Report, which evaluated anticipated environmental impacts in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, was released in July 2012.
As the results of the studies, Alternative Crossing 8B was selected as the Preferred Alternative, which featured an 830-foot main span over the Ohio River, a 618-foot span, a 430-foot span, and an interchange with Ohio Route 7. 2 5 The Deck Width Study Report, produced by HDR Engineering in May 2014, looked into the relative cost of various deck width options, with deck widths ranging from 43-feet to 61-feet with varying configurations, with three main structure types: a simple span tied arch, a three-span continuous truss, and a three-span continuous cable-stayed. It was decided to incorporate a shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists as it would connect to the Brooke Pioneer Trail. 1
Flatiron Construction was awarded a low-bid construction contract for the $131 million Wellsburg Bridge in 2016. 1 3 5 Construction began in the spring of 2018. 3
In an effort to reduce costs and shave a year off of the construction timeframe, Flatiron opted to build the tied-arch bridge off-site and deliver it by barge to the project site for installation in what was expected to be a two-day operation. 3 On April 26, 2021, the main span was lifted onto two pairs of barges and moved into position in a single 13½-hour operation. 5 The bridge was supported on the bridges by eight sets of sectional pilings. Once in place, the structure was jacked up, and additional pilings were set underneath until it was high enough to rest on its support piers.
With an estimated weight of 4,000 tons, the tied-arch span was the heaviest structure to be lifted in such a manner in the United States. 4
Originally scheduled to open in 2022, 4 the new Wellsburg Bridge is estimated open to traffic in spring 2023. 6
- State: Ohio, West Virginia
- Route: N/A
- Type: Tied Arch
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Main Span Length: 845 feet
- Spans: 618 feet (Ohio span); 845 feet (main span); 430 feet (West Virginia span)
- “Wellsburg Bridge.” Brooke Hancock Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, 2020.
- “Proposed Ohio River Bridge Deck Width Study Report.” HDR Engineering, May 2014.
- “Wellsburg Bridge.” Flatiron Construction, 2020.
- North, Kim. “Construction Continues on Wellsburg Bridge.” Intelligencer, Wheeling News-Register, 21 Sept. 2020.
- “Wellsburg Bridge in place, project moving toward fall 2022 completion.” West Virginia Department of Transportation, 29 Apr. 2021.
- Flatley, Jake. “DOH engineer says Wellsburg Bridge likely to open in late spring 2023.” WV Metro News, 27 Nov. 2022.