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When ODOT's not out plowing snow or repairing the roads we also enjoy blowing up old bridges.
February 21, 2012 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday, the Ohio Dep't of Transportation blew up the Fort Steuben bridge between Steubenville, OH, and Weirton, WV. The bridge was 84 years old.

Fort Steuben bridge on historicbridges.org
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective (26 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Aww, man. I loved that bridge (okay fine I drove over it once but it was memorable.)
posted by Navelgazer at 2:31 PM on February 21, 2012


Like that will really keep the zombie plague contained.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:37 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, they sure did.
posted by usonian at 2:41 PM on February 21, 2012


Is this the fate awaiting many American bridges since states elected to spend all the "shovel ready" stimulus budget on graft, raising high level bureaucrats salaries, hookers & booze, etc. and plan on continuing to do so in future?
posted by jeffburdges at 2:46 PM on February 21, 2012


In most of the world 84 years is not an old bridge.
posted by Hogshead at 2:47 PM on February 21, 2012 [11 favorites]


So what's the deal with the bridge? 84 years isn't all that old. Was the thing just fucked for some reason? What was the need for demolition? Was there local protest over this? ???
posted by rainperimeter at 2:58 PM on February 21, 2012


some background: since 1990, the bridge has been supplanted by a newer bridge a half mile away. the current structure was of limited use and expensive to maintain, so they demolished it.
posted by bruceo at 3:08 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the part where the bridge exploded.
posted by zardoz at 3:09 PM on February 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Astonishingly loud even w/volume turned down. Hope everyone local knew in advance - imagine your reaction if you didn't know in advance that it was going to happen!
posted by leslies at 3:16 PM on February 21, 2012


According to Googly Maps, the road approaching the bridge on the WV side was "Freedom Way."
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:16 PM on February 21, 2012


From the picture on historicbridges.org, it looked extremely narrow. It would have made a great bike/pedestrian bridge, but too late for that now.
posted by zsazsa at 3:31 PM on February 21, 2012


I only really felt I understood Paris when a coauthor took me "drinking in the best bar in Paris", which meant buying a bottle of Champaign from a kiosk and going to Pont des Arts (side view).
posted by jeffburdges at 3:47 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


According to this story in a Wheeling paper, the bridge had been closed for three years due to structural problems.
posted by pernoctalian at 4:19 PM on February 21, 2012


I like the part where the bridge exploded.
I did too. The last 30 seconds of the video were kind of a let down though.
posted by Killick at 4:30 PM on February 21, 2012


That's just how I want to die. At 84 and with a really cool-looking explosion.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:02 PM on February 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Can't find any info on what the plan is now with the remnants. Are they going to remove it from the river? How?
posted by Big_B at 6:55 PM on February 21, 2012


They'll send a team in to wire up the pieces and then blow them up again.
posted by mazola at 7:27 PM on February 21, 2012


My favorite bridge demolition video.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:26 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's just how I want to die. At 84 and with a really cool-looking explosion.

Stick around Metafilter, you'll have had enough beans by then it just might be a possibility.
posted by Runes at 9:03 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You know I built a bridge once? I was an engineer by trade. It went from Dilles Bottom, Ohio to Moundsville, West Virginia. It spanned 912 ft above the Ohio river. 12,100 people used this thing a day. And it cut out 35 miles of extra driving each way between Wheeling and New Martinsville. That's a combined 847,00 miles of driving a day; or 25,410,000 miles a month; and 304,920,000 miles a year -- saved. Now I completed that project in 1986, that's 22 years ago. So over the life of that one bridge, that's 6,708,240,000 miles that haven't had to be driven. At what, lets say, 50 miles an hour. So that's. . . 134,164,800 hours, or 559,020 days. So that one little bridge has saved the people of those two communities a combined 1,531 years of their lives not wasted in a fucking car. . . "
posted by Herodios at 9:42 PM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Margin Call was a decent film.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:46 PM on February 21, 2012


Haven't driven over that bridge for at least 30 years... and now it looks like I won't again, either. That was a much nicer looking explosion than when they blew up the NY/VT Champlain Bridge, at age 80, down the road a few years ago.

A book of highway history I just read, The Big Roads, says on page 318 that "One in four of the country’s nearly six hundred thousand bridges is structurally deficient or obsolete."
posted by LeLiLo at 11:24 PM on February 21, 2012


I grew up about 20-25 minutes south of the bridge and my father past this bridge on the way to work every day of his adult life. As for using the bridge for pedestrian purposes, the WV side of the bridge is not really in a location that anyone would want to walk to. The WV side is essentially the side of a mountain that slopes down into the Ohio river. As there is no buildable land around the bridge there is nothing for anyone to walk to on that side of the bridge.

A book of highway history I just read, The Big Roads, says on page 318 that "One in four of the country’s nearly six hundred thousand bridges is structurally deficient or obsolete."

You do have to take "obsolete" with a grain of salt. Every time they change the standards for bridges to be more stringent they make the existing bridge stock obsolete. By that same standard lots of the houses in the US have some sort of obsolete electrical wiring.
posted by mmascolino at 6:08 AM on February 22, 2012


So Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci)'s bridge is the Moundsville Bridge, 40 miles downstream from the now-demolished Fort Steuben bridge. According to the linked site, it was indeed completed in 1986, is 912 ft in span, and conveys an average 12,100 vehicles per day.

I probably would never have got around to confirming this if not for this FPP, so thanks, W. Brown!

The WV side is essentially the side of a mountain that slopes down into the Ohio river. . . there is nothing for anyone to walk to on that side of the bridge.

This is true of much of the Ohio's left bank from Pittsburghuh to Cincinnati, at least.

And yet, when one of these spans across the river expire, the communities on both sides suffer for years. The U.S. Grant Bridge at Portsmouth, Ohio, was the only automobile bridge across the Ohio in Scioto County for decades. The bridge closed for repairs in 1978, reopened in 1980, closed again in 1994 for months, and in 2000 was finally closed for good, torn down in 2001, and not replaced until October, 2006.

Though far from the only factor, the increased travel time and transport uncertainty contributed to the economic decline of the city and surrounding area all through those decades. And while lack of reliable transport inhibits development of legit economic activity, the city's location, size, and lack of resources makes it a the perfect distribution hub for criminal enterprises of all sorts. Read and weep for Portsmouth, Ohio.
 
posted by Herodios at 7:18 AM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nice explosion, but it's too bad the metal wasn't worth reclaiming. Maybe they should have talked to these guys first?
posted by sneebler at 12:47 PM on February 22, 2012


Here's a bridge demolition on the PA Turnpike a while back.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:44 PM on February 22, 2012


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