January 17, 2009 - Leanna Elder had pointed out that the Fort Steuben Bridge has been closed and appears to be doomed. In fact, the bridge has apparently reached the end of its useful life and plans are now in place for its demise. The Ohio DOT has an article about the removal of the Fort Stueben Bridge on its website. The demolition is scheduled to begin in April, 2009 but that is a projected date and might be optimistic.
Acording to the Ohio DOT website, the Veterans Memorial Bridge was built in 1990 to ultimately replace the aging Fort Steuben Bridge.
The demolition of the bridge is not a universally accepted idea. Bicyclists and trail enthusiasts began a campaign back in 2007 to save the bridge in order for it to be the Ohio River crossing for a bike trail that will ultimately run from Washington, D.C. to Indianapolis. The bike trail concept ran into opposition because the Ohio portal access is to Ohio 7. Officials don't want bicycles on Ohio 7 any more than most bicyclists want to be on Ohio 7, a divided expressway.
There have also been discussions about closing the Market Street Bridge, built in 1904, but the closing of both bridges would severely impact traffic flow. For now, the Market Street Bridge is being monitored with no plans for major repairs.
Offcials from West Virginia and Steubenville want to see a replacement bridge built. A 2003 committee proposed a bridge in the Wellsville-Brilliant area (about 7 miles downstream) but apparently, no steps have been taken to build such a structure. According to one WVDOT official, the Fort Steuben Bridge, the Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Market Street Bridge comprise a system, and when one of the bridges is closed, there is a severe negative impact on traffic in the area. The Market Street Bridge reportedly carries 6,300 vehicles per day and the Fort Steuben Bridge carried 3,000 vehicles per day. Those 3,000 cars are now on the Market Street Bridge and Veterans Memorial Bridge. The area on the Ohio side of the river is congested with both vehicle and rail traffic, limiting bridge options.
As is always the case in a large infrastructure project, there is a lot of heartburn and disagreement but it looks likely that the Fort Steuben Bridge is going to come down this year.
You can find more information about the project on a website called UrbanOhio.com that tracked media reports about the proposed demolition.
OK, watching the demolition video at regular speed is distressing enough, but watching the slow motion portion is truly heartbreaking. The slow motion allows you to see every little explosion as it happens on each place on the bridge--it's like watching a helpless animal get put down. I've seen that plenty of times growing up--not a pleasant experience at all. R.I.P, old friend; your replacement will join you 20 years from now!
Official ODOT demolition video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVNM8LFVzUE
WARNING: This video contains scenes of wanton and gratuitous violence toward historic bridges. Viewer discretion is advised. Historic bridges were harmed in the making of this video.
Also note the official statement from ODOT in the description of the video: "When ODOT's not out plowing snow or repairing the roads we also enjoy blowing up old bridges."
Its hard to argue with that statement, but its interesting to see an official ODOT statement that essentially says they enjoy destroying historic bridges.
Good golly, filled TWO little brown barf bags with this news--and my stomach still doesn't feel any better! Glad there's plenty of room in the Ohio River for me to hurl into!
This goes on the list of epic fails of the year.
Well, she's gone. The bridge was imploded at 7:15 this morning. Should anyone want to see her final moments, here's a link to Channel 9's coverage:http://www.wtov9.com/videos/news/fort-steuben-bridge-implosion-videos/ln2/#comments
Per twitter sources, the main span was imploded this morning.
The bridge is to be demolished on 2-20-2012 the WV approach was dismantled over the last 3 days
Are you kidding me? THAT'S what is going in place of this gorgeous old bridge!!! I was going to drive from Toronto just to see the old Fort Steuben bridge !!! Tell your people I will not be driving from Toronto to look at this crappy Mail Order Bridge. Someone kindly mentions to also take a look at Bellaire Bridge 26 miles south. Does it have an alternate name because it doesn't come up on bridge hunter? Good luck. I hope some good Ohio bridge loving folks can try to save this beauty.
This is exactly why I cringe everytime a MOB is uploaded onto this site. I understand that many people like them, but every time I see one, I think that it was a lost opportunity for the relocation of a historic truss bridge.
I take back my previous comment... The lookout will have a major benefit. A little brown barf bag will not be needed: people can simply walk to the end of the lookout and vomit directly into the Ohio River as they realize $2.3 Million was spent for no reason other than the pointless annihilation of our nation's irreplaceable transportation heritage.
Time to get the little brown barf bag out! Stupid decision with an observation deck! ;-P
Putting on observation deck here is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. I couldn't agree more with Tony's comment. With the bridge gone there is nothing to look at except for the deteriorating cable stayed bridge.
An observation deck on the old Ohio pier with a pedestrian bridge leading to it!
You know what that means!!!...Ugly MOB coming to Fort Steuben!
And to look at what?
See, the below statement by the Wheeling Register that David Denenburg posted:
Fort Steuben Bridge Demolition Begins
Part of span to be made an observation deck
January 12, 2012
By WARREN SCOTT - For The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
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Passersby on Ohio 7 or the Veterans Memorial Bridge may have noticed sparks flying from the older Fort Steuben Bridge and heavy equipment parked on it.
That's because crews with the Joseph B. Fay Co. of Russellton, Pa., have begun demolishing the 82-year-old span, which was closed in January 2009 by officials with the Ohio Department of Transportation, who said it had become too costly to repair and upgrade to meet current traffic conditions.
On Wednesday, ODOT officials said crews have begun work to dismantle the outer panels of the 1,584-foot long span. They said the $2.3 million demolition project is expected to involve one explosive blast, which is slated to occur in late February or early March.
Photo by Warren Scott
Crews with the Joseph B. Fay Co. of Russellton, Pa., have begun work to dismantle the Fort Steuben Bridge. The 82-year-old span was closed in 2009 by officials with the Ohio Department of Transportation, who said it had become too costly to maintain and upgrade to meet current traffic conditions.
The officials said at least one northbound and one southbound lane of Ohio 7 will remain open throughout the project. They are expected to reveal additional details at a press conference early today.
John Brown, executive director of the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, said following the demolition, Steubenville officials plan to convert part of the span's Ohio pier for use as an observation deck, with a pedestrian bridge leading to it and an adjacent parking area.
The contractor agreed to cut the pier to a specific height and cap it with a concrete base so it can serve as the observation deck.
The span opened in 1928 as a private toll bridge and was the first Ohio River suspension bridge with a concrete floor. It was purchased in 1936 by the State Bridge Commission of Ohio, which removed the toll, though it was reinstated for a time in the 1950s.
The bridge has undergone many renovations, including replacement of the suspension cables in 1941, repairs to a hole in its floor in 1967 and a major rehabilitation in 1972 that included replacing the floor with a concrete-filled steel grid deck.
Other improvements were made in the 1980s and '90s and as late as 2000. But in 2003 ODOT announced plans to close the span, noting the weight limit for the aging span had been lowered in 2004, resulting in less traffic on it.
Prior to that, the span was used by many large trucks traveling to and from industries in Weirton. As part of U.S. 22 in the 1960s, it carried about 20,000 vehicles daily over the Ohio River.
Officials added the width of its deck, at just over 20 feet, didn't meet current safety standards and said the cost to upgrade and maintain it wasn't justified by its use, which was reported as 6,000 vehicles daily then.
I do searches of bridge news every few days and normally the demolition of a bridge this size will rapidly pop up. I have not found such news, and so this bridge appears to still be standing. Similarly, 26 miles to the south, the Bellaire Bridge over Ohio River south of Wheeling, is still standing. A visit to both is highly recommended. Both bridges have defied the execution squads far longer than most bridges. I fear their luck will run out soon however. One old news article said Fort Steuben was to be completely demolished by July 2012, not sure if that date still holds.
Does the bridge still exist? If so, I want to come and look at it before it's gone. Thanks.
As of 8 August 2011 the Fort Steuben Bridge was still standing. It was closed and on the North/East side (Weirton, WV) there were a lot of construction vehicles at the approach to the bridge. However, it was still standing.
This bridge is absolutely still closed to traffic and will never reopen, since it is slated for demolition, as dumb as that is. It may still be possible to walk on it if you walk around the barriers. I am not sure how completely it is blocked off.
Is this bridge still closed to all traffic,walkers and bicyclists? I will be coming across in August and wonder if I will have to use Rt. 22.
On January 16, 2009 I read on the web that this bridge has been permanently closed and will be demolished later in the year. A routine check discovered some problems and it was closed temporarily but then it was decided to make it a permanent closure.
If there is any consolation, I did pick up a couple pieces of the bridge when I was there in 2010 so it's not all lost. ;-) Here is my column on the bridge with a couple small FYIs for your interest: