Belpre, OH to Parkersburg, WV


  • Design Criteria:
    • Provide a context-sensitive solution for bridging the Ohio River
    • Provide a durable, long-life structure
    • Reduce overall weight by using innovative construction methods and techniques
  • Owner: Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and
    the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH)
  • Designer: Michael Baker Jr., Inc./HNTB
  • Engineer: Robinson Engineering Company
  • Contractor: Walsh Construction Company of Chicago
  • Total Project Cost: $120 million
  • Total Project Size: Length: 4009 ft
    Width: 100 ft
  • Year Completed: 2008

The Blennerhassett Island Bridge, spans the Ohio River between West Virginia and Ohio and this bridge was a critical section of the Appalachian Highway Corridor D. Blennerhassett Island, in the Ohio River, is a historic state park, and bridging it presented several obstacles, including the sensitive issue of wetland mitigation. Archaeological excavations unveiled traces of settlements dating as far back as 9,000 years ago. And in 1798, Irish immigrant Harman Blennerhassett built a 7,000-square-foot mansion on the island, considered to be one of the most elegant estates in West Virginia. The mansion was so valued by West Virginians that when it was destroyed by fire in 1811, the state recreated the Palladian-style home on the island’s upper end.

The bridge is 76-feet above the Ohio River and features 2,633 feet of approach spans on the West Virginia side, an 880-foot main span and 495-feet of approach spans on the Ohio side for a total length of 4,008 feet. The tied arch rises 175-feet at its mid-point. These tied arch ranks as the longest networked tied-arch structure in the United States.

Innovative construction methods and techniques were required to account for the challenges presented by the extraordinary weight and size of the structural members, the mountainous terrain, and the riverine environment. Approximately 35,000 cubic yards of concrete was supplied to this project and the structure utilized epoxy-coated reinforcing steel throughout the deck.