BRILLIANT, OH & WELLSBURG, WV – Excitement for the bridge doesn’t just end in West Virginia. People in Ohio gathered on Brilliant’s hillsides, some with tears in their eyes.
Some say Wellsburg has been waiting for this day for 150 years, locals have been anticipating it for over a decade and one Ohio man says he’s been watching since the first day they started construction on the river.
“They said what are you going to do when you retire? I said I’m going to watch them build the bridge. Well, I retired about 13.5 years ago, and I’ve been watching them build the bridge ever since.”Howard Scivinsky, Brilliant resident
Teary-eyed, Scivinsky says the good weather is a God send.
“Just to see it come down, and everything be done safely, I think I’m seeing God watching over everybody doing the job.”Howard Scivinsky, Brilliant resident
And across the river, some like Tom Zurbuch have been waiting a lifetime to see this bridge in place. He says his family business, operating since Civil War time, is about to see the traffic it once knew.
“When we used to have the ferry, 40 percent of business came from Ohio, from Brilliant. And I think it’s going to open it right back up. And I think Wellsburg is going to be a prime place to be because of the bridge.”Tom Zurbuch, Wellsburg resident
In awe of the last leg of the bridge’s 1-mile float, now raising 36 feet to it’s final position, some say it’s like watching paint dry.
When asked if he’ll stick around to the finale, Mingo Junction resident David Kendall said, “I’m going to try.”
And others say it’s an amazing feat for the Ohio Valley.
“The gentleman came all the way from Chicago that we met at my house just to see the bridge put in place,” said Scivinsky. “It’s never been done before. When you see an 845 ft. span being floated down the river by barges and being put in place, it’s just amazing what we can accomplish when we put our heads together.”
It took a lot of will-power from residents, like Tom’s brother-in-law, Dick Harvey, who has since passed, petitioning people from Ohio and Brooke County to think about a bridge.
“I look down there and I think ‘By God, he was right.’ And it is going to do what he thought it would do,” said Zurbuch.
Where a river separates, now a connection of two states. Locals are lifting the crews up in prayer as they watch the structure set into place.