Blennerhassett Island Bridge

Parkersburg, West Virginia

As the last link in the Appalachian Highway Corridor D, the Blennerhassett Island Bridge carries U.S. 50 across the Ohio River from Cincinnati to Bridgeport, West Virginia. At 100-feet wide and 4,008 feet-long, the structure is the longest bridge in West Virginia, carrying six lanes of traffic and millions of travelers across the bridge each year. The bridge rises 175 feet and its approach spans consist of steel-plate girders with spans up to 401 feet in length. The structure’s 878-foot-long network tied arch forms the main span, the longest of its type in the United States.

Michael Baker has been at the center of the bridge’s evolution and eventual completion, by providing preliminary and final bridge design, environmental engineering and location studies, permitting and construction phase services. During the planning and design phases, our design team produced a 3D model of the project site to evaluate 16 bridge design alternatives to optimize structural integrity and safety while controlling costs.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the arch bridge features a number of advancements to improve safety and durability. The arrangement of hanger cables improves the distribution of live loads and the networked cable pattern provides added redundancy, meaning that if a cable fails, the remaining cables are designed to pick up the extra load. The state-of-the-art design also uses high capacity materials that make it resistant to fatigue. High-performance steel used in the arch and approach girder spans improve the structure’s durability and ductility and reduced material quantities and construction costs. A fiber-reinforced polymer walkway under the bridge will allow for easier and safer bridge inspections.


“The successful completion of the bridge means improved safety, less congestion and enhanced mobility, not just locally, but for the entire region.”

Josh D.
Project Manager, Post-Design Services

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