Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from Steubenville, OH and Follansbee, WV

Herald Star...Area commuters and businesses on both sides of the Ohio River received an early Christmas present last week when the Market Street Bridge was re-opened.

The Dec. 7 ceremony marked the completion of renovation project that officials hope will keep the span, which was built in 1905, open until a new bridge can be built between Brilliant and Wellsburg. Motorists have had to endure closures the past two summers while crews made repairs to the bridge towers and Ohio approach spans and trusses. The work included cleaning and painting, the lowering of clearance bars to ensure the 5-ton weight limit is maintained and the installation of decorative lighting.

With the $13.7 million project complete, the convenient connection between downtown Steubenville and Follansbee has been restored. That should come as a relief to businesses, as the length of trips to shop in both communities have been greatly shortened.

Photos prior to bridge repair

Older photos

Now, I will take you back to Christmas in 1967 which I still remember well.
The Silver City Bridge was built at almost the same time, by the same company, and was constructed using many of the same materials and methods that were used in the construction of the Market Street Bridge in Steubenville, OH.

The Silver Bridge Collapse !!!

On December 15,1967 at approximately 5 p.m., the U.S. Highway 35 bridge connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Kanauga, Ohio suddenly collapsed into the Ohio River. At the time of failure, thirty- seven vehicles were crossing the bridge span, and thirty-one of those automobiles fell with the bridge. Forty- six individuals perished with the buckling of the bridge and nine were seriously injured. Along with the numerous fatalities and injuries, a major transportation route connecting West Virginia and Ohio was destroyed, disrupting the lives of many and striking fear across the nation. (reference:

The Christmas rush applied an extra load to the 40 year old bridge causing a cleavage fracture in one of the “eyebars”.

This was followed by a ductile fracture near the pin. Unable to support the weight of the entire bridge, the south side chain also snapped.

The structure only took about 1 minute to completely fall into the river below. An investigation, led by John Bennett, immediately followed the collapse of the Silver Bridge.

The bridge was constructed of carbon steel, which tends to crack. Many cracks were found throughout the bridge among extensive corrosion.

The failure resulted from stress corrosion and corrosion fatigue, two concepts which were not known in 1927.

It was also found that the flaw could not have been detected, even by today's methods, unless the bridge was taken apart and tested.In addition to the investigation,
“the federal government mandated the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS). The new standards required periodic inspection of all the nation's bridges.”

Here is some more recent history of our bridge...

Herald Star...Nov. 2009

STEUBENVILLE - Joe DeSantis stood patiently at the corner of Third and Market streets with his camera in hand.

The city's streets and sanitation superintendent had accommodated a request to block off part of South Third Street for a day's filming of the Denzel Washington movie "Unstoppable."

But DeSantis and a reporter were soon asked by a City Police officer to stop taking photos and move away from the corner.

Film crews can be touchy about who is standing near a scene where Denzel Washington and other actors playing railroad workers are riding in a work van for a five second scene on the Market Street bridge.

For a few hours Tuesday Hollywood came to downtown Steubenville as the film makers shot multiple versions of a railroad van filled with workers driving west on the Market Street bridge.

Photos related to the Silver Bridge at Point Pleasant and its collapse on Dec. 15, 1967.
Thirty-seven vehicles were on the bridge when it fell into the Ohio River. Forty-six people died, and nine others were seriously injured...Photo Gallery from Herald Dispatch

In 1928, Charles P. Vogel, standing at left, was the first person to drive an automobile across the Silver Bridge. Vogel was resident engineer in charge of constructing the span's superstructure. Shown with him, seated on the auto bumper, is George Cumpston, who was in charge of the bridge's steelwork.


boilerdoc said...

Great always.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Is that the bridge "Mothman" was about?

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Scott said...

Thanks Doc...and Odie, YES the Silver Bridge collapse was preceded by an unprecedented number of Mothman sightings. I have peaked an "uncommon" interest with some folks locally as well so I am posting a followup story next.