The busy Ohio River freight corridor along West Virginia’s northern panhandle paused on April 26 to make way for barges transporting a 830-ft tied-arch bridge span that will form the signature element of a new $131-million crossing between Wellsburg, W. Va., and Brilliant, Ohio.

Flatiron Construction Corp., lead contractor for the project, oversaw assembly of span segments and approach girders at an offsite riverside location. Placed atop a hydraulic jacking beam system, the 4,100-ton structure was floated one mile to the project site, where it was lifted and secured atop concrete piers approximately 80 ft above the river. The transport and preliminary installation process was completed in approximately 13 hours.

Designed by RS&H and COWI, with Stantec providing quality assurance services, the 1,875-ft-long crossing will also include five approach spans, making it one of the longest tied-arch bridges the U.S. upon substantial completion in October 2022.

The project is the West Virginia Dept. of Transportation’s first use of a public-private partnership for infrastructure, and was developed in collaboration with the Ohio Dept. of Transportation. With the nearest existing river crossings located eight and 13 miles away, the new bridge will dramatically reduce travel times between Wellsburg and the Ohio Valley.