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Suspension Bridge, Wheeling

#2 of 26 in Things to do in Wheeling
Bridge · Tourist Spot
The Wheeling Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the main channel of the Ohio River at Wheeling, West Virginia. It was the largest suspension bridge in the world from 1849 until 1851. Charles Ellet Jr. (who also worked on the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge) built it, and it became the first bridge to span a major river west of the Appalachian mountains. It linked the eastern and western section of the National Road, and became especially strategically important during the American Civil War. Litigation in the United States Supreme Court concerning its obstruction of the new high steamboat smokestacks eventually cleared the way for other bridges, especially needed by expanding railroads. Because this bridge was designed during the horse-and-buggy era, 2-ton weight limits and vehicle separation requirements now apply.
The main span is 1010ft from tower to tower. The east tower rests on the Wheeling shore, while the west tower is on Wheeling Island. The east tower is 153.5ft above the low-water level of the river, or 82ft from the base of the masonry. The west tower is 132.75ft above low water, with 69ft of masonry.
The Wheeling Suspension Bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 15, 1975. It is located in the Wheeling Island Historic District.
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239 reviews
  • The suspension bridge was a very interesting engineering piece of history and has a lot of interesting information associated with it.  more »
  • Nation's oldest suspension bridge still in use (during our visit) although with restrictions. Parked in town and walked across the bridge and then down to the river walk and under the bridge Neat old....  more »
  • I love this bridge! Great piece of transportation history...very interesting learning about the importance it had on the development of the West. I've lived in this valley all my is a shame kids don't learn local history in school. This is the oldest suspension bridge open to current vehicular transportation IN THE WORLD. AMAZING! Note: There is a weight limit on this structure...NO TRUCKS ALLOWED. Meaning no trucks larger than a pick-up allowed to cross.
  • Very cool bridge. It can be hard to believe that this was once a huge engineering accomplishment. If you’re walking down the sidewalk, you can feel the bridge bounce a little each time a car passes.

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