Suspension bridge looks brighter with fresh coat of paint | News, Sports, Jobs

WHEELING – Those who travel in and around the city of Wheeling have probably noticed the historic suspension bridge taking on a brighter new hue.

The fresh paint job is part of the $17 million project to restore the bridge that spans the Ohio River between downtown and Wheeling Island.

It has been many years since the bridge has been repainted. The wooden parts are painted red again, but with the new coat they now appear much bolder and brighter. The red color makes the bridge stand out even more, especially for motorists traveling on Interstate 70.

The cables will be painted white.

The old paint is removed via a more environmentally friendly method using a sponge blast. This method does not use water or air, but pieces of sponge. The tarps catch the pieces of sponge which can be vacuumed up, recycled and reused in the process.

Prior to paint application, a gray primer was used.

Structural work is also planned for the bridge which will begin in June or July.

The main cables of the bridge will remain, located on the downtown side, but new anchorages will be drilled for them.

Some steel work will be done on the bridge, but there is not much steel to replace.

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge was built in 1849 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The span has a weight limit of 2 tons. In recent years, it has temporarily closed due to damage caused by oversized vehicles traveling there.

Over the years, some of the supporting cables have also broken, forcing temporary closures of the bridge. Finally, in September 2019, it was closed to all vehicle traffic. Until then, it was the oldest suspension bridge still in continuous use in the United States.

State Highway Division officials previously said it remains undetermined whether the bridge will reopen to vehicular traffic after the renovation.

The contractor hired to perform the renovation was Advantage Steel & Construction of Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. The painting contractor is 446 Painting of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

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