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Officials explore possibility of new bridge

Updated: Thursday, September 19 2013, 06:55 PM EDT

By Jon Rudder
Another bridge could soon span the Ohio River between Brooke and Jefferson Counties.

here are only two bridges between the two counties, the Veterans Memorial and Market Street Bridgres. TheMarket Street Bridge has a tonnage limit.

A new bridge would would allow more options for larger vehicles and potentially be an economic boost to the area.

The new bridge would connect Route 2 in West Virginia and Route 7 in Ohio below Wellsburg in West Virgina and near Brilliant, Ohio, which is one of the shorter spans on the river.

"When we say, 'A new Ohio River bridge,' people's comment is, 'Not in my lifetime,'" Executive Director for the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission John Brown said. "I don't think I'm premature in saying that it will be in their lifetime."

The planning commission is expecting to learn the results of a study that says no environmental harm will come from building a new bridge.

"From evaluation of mussels in the river to public comments in terms of issues of roads being interfered with, we'll finally get an agreement from the federal government that we can now move forward," Brown said.

Brown said that getting a new bridge has been a priority since 1993 and since the implosion of the Fort Steuben Bridge, that emphasis has grown.

"I know from reliable sources, you could see physically a beginning of this in three years, which is important for people in the region to recognize," he said.

The overall goal for this bridge will be access and safety for emergency vehicles, but could also serve as an economic incentive.

"I think people, investors even, economic investors,are starting to recognize that where this is going to be located and how it's going to impact," Brown said. "Natural gas companies are probably watching closely too, because it's going to change some of their traffic patterns."

Brown said a total cost for this project will be somewhere around $120 million and would be shared by the two states using the bridge.

Officials explore possibility of new bridge


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