WELLSBURG, W.Va. — Within the next few years, a new route across the Ohio River will be open to drivers and walkers in Brooke County.

Now officially underway is construction for the planned new tiered-arch span connecting Route 2 just south of Wellsburg to Route 7 in Brilliant, Oh.

Wellsburg Mayor Sue Simonetti said the new bridge is key to future economic development.

“More traffic, more people to our town and, hopefully, some of them are going to stop and visit and shop around in Wellsburg and such,” said Simonetti who also noted the importance of convenience.

Currently, “A lot of the businesses and stuff have to travel either north to Steubenville (Ohio) or south to Wheeling (West Virginia) and double back up.”

Governor Jim Justice was among the state officials scheduled to attend Tuesday morning’s groundbreaking ceremony for the $131 million project.

“A lot of planning went into it and a lot of patience on (the part of) a lot of people and a lot of people with our governments, both Ohio and West Virginia being involved, working together,” Simonetti said.

“It’s really good to see.”

Flatiron Construction was the contractor the West Virginia Department of Transportation selected for the project.

The expected completion date for the new bridge is Spring 2021 with most of the span set to be built in segments elsewhere and then transported to the site via barge.

“We’ve been working for close to 30 years on it and it’s been a long time coming,” Simonetti said.

“It’s not just going to benefit Wellsburg, it’s going to benefit the whole Northern Panhandle.”

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