I-70 Bridge "Main Priority" for Road Bond Renovations - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

I-70 Bridge "Main Priority" for Road Bond Renovations

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The West Virginia Division of Highways says although it's safe to drive on, the I-70 bridge is the first thing on their list in need of renovations.

"It's the highest priority of the whole state, in my opinion," said District Engineer Gus Suwaid. "Given the condition of the I-70 where it needs our immediate attention."

The Northern Panhandle will be receiving over $280 million, with $196.6 million going to Ohio County from the newly passed Road Bond Referendum. And the first project their hoping to renovate is the I-70 bridge connecting West Virginia and Ohio.

"It's the first thing you see if your coming from the west or the east, you see those interstate systems," Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott said. "Right now, we're not putting our best face forward of Wheeling."

According to Suwaid, the steal beams and the deck of the bridge are the main parts that will need the rehab, "Visually speaking it does look in very poor condition. Again, that doesn't mean the bridge is unsafe; it just needs ongoing, constant efforts. Not only inspecting, but patching, maintaining, so on and so forth."

"It's going to be a concern for the city dealing with all the traffic issues while the construction happens, it's something we have to work with DOH on," said Elliott. "We're looking forward to having this work done, it's really going to help the city compete and be more attractive."

Despite one published report, Suwaid wants to stress the fact that these bridges are safe.

 "There should be no misconception or fear that they are unsafe. Otherwise we would have restricted them or posted them."

One woman who travels the bridge daily tells me she never worries, "I've never really had any bad experiences on it, so, for me, it doesn't feel like a safety hazard," said Martins Ferry resident Emileigh Gildow.

She did go on to say there are some renovations needed.

Mayor Elliot tells 7news they're hoping these renovations begin in early 2018.

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