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Bellaire Bridge Pictured Above






The Bellaire, Ohio side of the Bellaire Bridge, in August 2010

The Bellaire Toll Bridge was built in 1926. It is likely the oldest cantilever truss bridge in West Virginia, and is the second oldest vehicular truss bridge over the entire Ohio River. The overall length of the bridge is 2,770 feet (840 m)

On July 4, 1927 an interstate wedding took place on the bridge. Portions of the movie The Silence of the Lambs was filmed on the bridge.

The highest point in the bridge is 350 feet (110 m) above the water line.

Benwood Mayor Edward Kuca, Jr. has announced that demolition of the Bellaire Bridge still remains up in the air and has been delayed until all legal requirements are met. Both KDC Investments and Advance Explosives Demolition are now claiming they are owners of the bridge, which has halted the demolition. “Progress cannot move forward until we determine who the actual owner is,” said Kuca.

Because of the public safety hazards associated with the bridge, demolition has been top priority for Benwood. In 2003 Chief Frank Longwell was appointed to serve as Safety Director for the city and he has worked diligently with the coast guard and other agencies to make the demolition a reality. “Although, city officials are ecstatic of the news that contractors have made application for its demolition. However, it is our job to assure that all safety, legal and liability issues are covered. We must live up to our responsibility by protecting the city and its citizens,” said Chief Longwell.

The bridge was constructed over 18 months starting in June 1925 at a cost of about $1.5 million, which is equivalent to $18.4 million in present day terms and was raised by local residents.

A one way trip cost 5 cents for nearly 45 years. In 1971 the toll increased to 25 cents one way, 40 cents round trip. The bridge began losing money in 1984, and the toll was increased to 50 cents one-way, one dollar round trip.

Above Photos taken by Mary M. Leichter

Information obtained from the following web site links below:


Historic Bridges


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