West Virginia Roads - US 40 - (Wheeling Isl. & Suspension Bridge)/US 250
US 40, Wheeling Island and Wheeling Suspension Bridge, and US 40/250
The only photo on this page not related to a bridge, York St. NB on Wheeling Island. That's roughly the best way to retrace the route of the National Road because I-70 cuts across the original street on the island. Signs should also have US 250 going both ways.
As seen from I-70, US 40/250 is in the foreground on a boring normal bridge. But in the background is something special, the Bridgeport Bridge, and that's where I spent some time looking around.
Walking westward up to the bridge. For obvious reasons, I could not drive up to or across it. For a better look at the white sign in the distance, check out the Ohio page (linked at bottom). It's worth it.
Some decorative elements along the side of the bridge. The sidewalk is in the same condition as the "road."
Back on modern US 40/250, looking north at the old bridge.
The oldest suspension bridge still carrying automotive traffic, the Wheeling Suspension Bridge on Virginia St., above photo courtesy Scott Sullivan. It's the only surface-street connection from Wheeling Island to the rest of the city - if your vehicle weighs less than 4,000 pounds. I don't know if that's unladen like an African swallow or laden like a European one, but the point is, there's a generous definition of "still open to traffic".
And onto the bridge. We now know that diagonal cables are not necessary, but bridge technology then was not what it is now. Also, the vastly overbuilt suspension bridges of the 19th century into the early 20th (up to, say, the 1930s) are still up in many places (think Brooklyn Bridge), whereas modern ones have more limited lifespans.
The Wheeling Suspension Bridge definitely shows its age - it's rather unnerving to drive across a bridge with an undulating span, but it is still fairly solid despite the appearance. To the south, I-470 spans the entire Ohio River past the end of the island.
Completing the westward journey. The white cables, blue suspenders and red bridge combine for a very beautiful and patriotic look. At each cable mooring, the main cables split in three to distribute the load. Now, bridges only have one cable on either side and much more beefed-up moorings.
Continue east on US 40
Onto US 250 alone
Back to US 40 main page
Into Ohio on US 40
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