STEUBENVILLE - Employees from the James White Construction Co. of Weirton anchored a steel bridge to the last remaining pier of the Fort Steuben Bridge Thursday as the observation deck nears completion.
The deck became an idea of city officials after the Ohio Department of Transportation announced plans to demolish the Fort Steuben Bridge.
"As part of our plan, the demolition will include saving a bridge pier closest to the Ohio shoreline that will be trimmed down and converted into an observation deck. The project includes the construction of a pedestrian bridge to the observation deck," City Engineer Michael Dolak said in late 2011.
A NEW OBSERVATION DECK — The steel walkway to the remaining pier of the Fort Steuben Bridge will allow visitors to the Steubenville Marina to look out onto the Ohio River and the hills of West Virginia. The project that is funded with state and federal money is scheduled for a mid-July completion date. — Dave Gossett
The bridge was brought down in February 2012 in a series of explosive blasts. And, the pier closest to the Ohio shore was shaved down to create an observation deck.
"The city received $250,000 in state and federal funds for the observation deck as well as paving the roadway to the deck area and a small parking lot," continued Dolak.
At one time, Mayor Domenick Mucci and City Council had sought $500,000 in funds to upgrade the marina but eventually settled on $250,000.
Mucci said the state agreed to provide $50,000 and the city received an additional $200,000 in Federal Highway Enhancement funds to trim the pier and construct a pedestrian bridge to an observation deck on the pier.
Mucci said the money only can be used for the deck project.
"We would like to create paved parking in the area under the existing bridge, provide a handicap-accessible fishing pier on the Ohio shore and install benches, railing, lights and trash receptacles at the marina," Mucci announced in 2009.
"I am extremely excited the observation deck is nearing completion. This may be a small development at the marina area, but it can lead to future recreational and commercial development along the Ohio River. This is a great opportunity to showcase the Ohio River. We can promote the Ohio River with our observation deck and marina," Mucci stated Thursday.
The pier is all that remains of the 83-year-old span that ran from Ohio to Freedom Way in Weirton.
Employees from the Joseph B. Fay Co. of Russellton, Pa., started removing the scrap from the bridge site immediately after a controlled blast brought the bridge down. The bridge scrap was taken to Strauss Industries in Weirton.