Eric Douglas Published

New Wellsburg Bridge Opens With Celebration

Hundreds of people crossing a newly opened bridge.Courtesy West Virginia Department of Transportation

Getting from Wellsburg, West Virginia in the Northern Panhandle to Brilliant, Ohio used to be a chore. For decades, people in both communities have been asking for a bridge across the river. 

And on Wednesday, that wish became a reality.

The 1,875-foot Wellsburg Bridge now connects the communities. It was built as part of the 2017 Roads to Prosperity program. 

The local community celebrated the opening with a car show, food trucks, bands and fireworks. It is also featured on the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) podcast “WV on the DOT.”

The episode, which is now available on most podcast providers, was recorded on the Wellsburg Bridge during the bridge’s grand opening celebration. The podcast hosts captured local voices about what the bridge will mean to them. 

A smiling woman is shown wearing over the ear headphones, glasses, and is holding a microphone. She wears a yellow shirt.
Local resident Barbara Miller.

Courtesy West Virginia Department of Transportation

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Northern Panhandle,” Barbara Miller, a resident of Windsor Heights in Brooke County, said. “We’ll use this bridge to go to the malls more easily. My granddaughter recently got a job in Steubenville, Ohio so I am really happy she’ll be able to use this bridge every day and shorten her route.”

“There are a lot of people here supporting their community and ready for this new connection,” Rowdy Workman, of Shadyside, Ohio, said.

Workman grew up in Moundsville, West Virginia. He participated in the grand opening ceremony, presenting the colors when Gov. Jim Justice arrived. 

The 830-foot main span of the bridge was built off-site on the bank of the Ohio River just upstream from the bridge site by Flatiron Construction of Broomfield, Colorado. Flatiron won the $131 million contract to build the new bridge.

“The bridge is here because of the community on both sides of the river,” Mike Swinson, of Flatiron Construction, said on the podcast. “These folks have been wanting this bridge, this connection, for decades. They are the genesis of this. Working with West Virginia DOT and Ohio DOT, this bridge got the funding and Flatiron was selected to deliver the bridge.”

On April 26, 2021, the 830-foot main span was lifted onto two pairs of barges and moved into position in a massive, 13-and-a-half-hour operation. It was the largest bridge floating project ever attempted in North America. 

The bridge was supported on the barges by eight sets of sectional pilings. Once in place, it was slowly jacked up and additional pylons were set underneath until it was high enough to rest on its support piers.