Rating:
3 votes

Big Coal River Pedestrian Suspension Bridge

Photos 

Photo taken by Greg Hall

Enlarge

BH Photo #139575

Map 

Description 

This pedestrian footbridge, designated at Kanawha County Route 15/14, spans the Big Coal River and CR 15/9 at the Forks of Coal. It meets a twin bridge over the Little Coal River at its western end.

Facts 

Overview
Wire suspension footbridge over the Big Coal River and CR 15/9
Location
Kanawha County, West Virginia
Status
Intact but closed to all traffic
History
Built 1920 by Oregonia Bridge Company to serve along with little Coal River Pedestrian Bridge and link three land masses together in a coal mining community
Builders
- F.O. Burdett (County Engineer)
- Oregonia Bridge Co. of Lebanon, Ohio
Design
Wire suspension
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.27252, -81.79937   (decimal degrees)
38°16'21" N, 81°47'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/430077/4236354 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Alum Creek
Elevation
633 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 42463 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 20, 2017: Updated by Brian Powell: closed to traffic
  • October 18, 2014: New photos from Patrick S. O'Donnell
  • February 22, 2010: Updated by Bob Morgan: added map marker and info
  • May 2, 2009: Updated by Greg Hall: corrected gps coordinates
  • April 28, 2009: Added by Greg Hall

Sources 

  • Greg Hall - cyclebay [at] aol [dot] com
  • Bob Morgan - morgans212 [at] att [dot] net
  • Brian Powell
  • Patrick S. O'Donnell - 1 [dot] 991km [at] comcast [dot] net

Comments 

Big Coal River Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
Posted May 31, 2018, by Karen Wheeler (Karenwhlr [at] frontier [dot] com)

I spent most of my life walking these bridges from the Big Coal river side from our house up the tracks to the Little Coal river side to catch the school bus and to go to the little neighborhood grocery store. It was harsh in the winter with the snow and ice and very scary when the rivers were almost high enough to to meet each other at the point. My family would all get together and walk acroos the bridge to where they met and walk the path to what was known to all in the neighborhood as “the point”. One winter on my way to school with a friend and her mother, I tripped, fell and by the grace of god stopped just before going over the edge. I never thought much about about it as a kid, but now, I wish they could have been saved and turned into an historical site.

My parents used to call the state to have new boards put in place or whatever repairs needed to be taken care of. If you go to the 1964 edition of the Charleston Gazette (unsure of month) you will find a great story, a picture of my granny and me and a great picture of how it used to look when life was great as a child.

Big Coal River Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
Posted October 19, 2017, by Brian Powell

Both the Little Coal and Big Coal pedestrian bridges are owned by the West Virginia Division of Highways. The Big Coal bridge is County Route 15/14, and the Little Coal bridge is County Route 13/22.

The land where the two bridges meet was donated to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources in 2016 to become Forks of Coal State Natural Area. WVDNR has established a series of trails, including one which basically leads to the bridges. Now that the bridges abut a park and are more accessible, maybe there will be more interest in repairing them.

Big Coal River Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
Posted February 27, 2017, by Connie Mosteller (mikconmost [at] aol [dot] com)

From what I have heard and read (but can't relocate the media), the Kanawha County & the Lincoln County Boards of Education shared the cost of building these bridges so that students could get to school.

Big Coal River Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
Posted January 2, 2017, by Greg Hall (cyclebay [at] aol [dot] com)

Stopped by just before Christmas 2016 to visit and these bridges. They now have metal placed across the entrances to indicate they can no longer be used. Visited with a local that was walking his dogs and he says that the wood is getting so bad that "they" decided that the bridges were no longer safe to use. As they are both semi abandoned, not sure who's responsibility it is to maintain them. Suspect they were built by a private company in the beginning.

This fellow also said that there was never a coal settlement where the bridges are, rather, a Sand Company (road to the North end of the Little Coal River bridge is named "Sand Plant Road") that there had been a company there that used barges to dredge the river to get sand from it. He further claimed that legend holds there is still a barge in the river that was left and had sunk. He alleged that the Sand Plant operation had preceeded the rail road tracks that exist today on the north end.

Big Coal River Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
Posted October 16, 2009, by Kim Pauley (kim1956 [dot] pauley [at] gmail [dot] com)

The east end of the swinging bridge over the Big Coal River side is located at my Dad's front yard. My sister rode her motorcycle over the bridge to get to the Point.

Big Coal River Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
Posted April 28, 2009, by Greg Hall (cyclebay [at] aol [dot] com)

Photo 1- Builder plaque

Photo 2- Looking West-both cable towers visible

Photo 3- Concrete cable anchor at West end. The other concrete anchor visible on the righ is for the Little Coal River (identical) Pedestrian Suspension Bridge

Photo 4- looking west from the railroad tracks

Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.

Big Coal River Pedestrian Suspension Bridge
Posted April 28, 2009, by Greg Hall (cyclebay [at] aol [dot] com)

Photo's taken during 2008 visit.

Photo 1- standing at East end/looking west

Photo 2- East end anchors/deck

Photo 3- Looking North-south end

Photo 4- Underneath deck

Photo 5- Looking South

Photo 6- plate/side

Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.