WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – It’s a phrase we have all heard over and over again… “The suspension bridge is closed.”
First it was a few weeks, then a month, but now, the West Virginia Division of Highways has closed the bridge indefinitely, saying it could be up to a year.
Mayor Glenn Elliott immediately jumped to the rescue when he heard about the bridges closure. Last night, he sent a formal letter to the Division of Highways stating why he thinks there are other solutions opposed to closing the bridge.
We can’t go on this way. If we can fly a man to the moon and return him back safely to earth, why can’t we figure this out?JAY FREY—VICE PRESIDENT, FRIENDS OF WHEELING
It seems as thought it should be that easy, but for wheeling residents, it seems to be a never-ending problem with no solution—until recently.
If you want to keep that bridge here, I think the best option is to keep it open to traffic, but have some design solutions in place so the bigger vehicles like trucks, SUV’s cant get access in the first place.GLENN ELLIOTT- WHEELING MAYOR
Mayor Glenn Elliott proposed six ideas for those design solutions, including tolling, weigh stations, soft restraints, enforcement cameras, limitation to cars only, and a spacing regulation.
No one wants to hear about it being a toll bridge. But, if you make it a five-cent toll, GPS wouldn’t send cars over it in the first place very often. So that would be a good start.”)GLENN ELLIOTT- WHEELING MAYOR
The friends of Wheeling sent the survey they took in late August to the Division of Highways, this is namely a big reason why the bridge closed, but that wasn’t their goal. In fact, they SUPPORT vehicles on the bridge—just the right ones.
We agree with his approach that it should be restored to a toll bridge which would direct GPS around it instead of over it. Which I think would be helpful for outside visitors that don’t get it about the bridge. And also, to have weigh stations here.JAY FREY – VICE PRESIDENT, FRIENDS OF WHEELING
But for Elliott—his main concern is getting it open before the upcoming I-70 bridge work project starts in February.
It’s going to divert some traffic that otherwise is going to get stuck in traffic jams getting on and off the Fort Henry Bridge. So, we think it’s a good short-term solution, but also just to keep the bridge standing there for future generations. We think it’s a good long-term solution to keep it open for traffic.GLENN ELLIOTT- WHEELING MAYOR
The Friends of Wheeling say that the letter Mayor Elliott wrote correlates directly with their outlook on the bridge.
Take a look at Mayor Elliot’s entire letter to the WVDOT regarding the Wheeling Suspension Bridge by visiting this link.