Blennerhassett Bridge Delay

By: Roger Sheppard
By: Roger Sheppard

Despite good weather, span won't open until Spring

      It’s very unlikely that you will get to drive on the new U-S Route 50, Corridor “D” Bridge across Blennerhassett Island until sometime in 2008.

     West Virginia officials this week finally confirmed what has long been suspected – that the bridge project is running behind schedule and that the November 2007 opening date has been nothing more than a pipe-dream for some time.

     First of all, the most important thing is that the bridge be built safely and that no one involved in building it or driving on it, is hurt due to haste or shoddy workmanship.

     The bridge will be a show-piece for the Valley for many years to come. A delay in driving across it for a few months will be long forgotten once the traffic starts flowing.

     But the question is: why has the state of West Virginia taken so long to admit what has been obvious for several months – that the bridge would NOT be done in 2007?

     Officials will probably blame the weather for the delays. But this summer’s weather was incredibly dry, allowing for almost un-interrupted work throughout the season. And all during that time, officials kept talking about a Fall 2007 opening.

     If there were problems earlier in the process that caused the delay in the completion, why didn’t they fess up, sooner?

     Who set the schedule in the first place?

     Did that person have a clue about how long it would take to complete a project of this magnitude?

     Is there a performance bond in jeopardy here, that is somehow tied to the completion date?

    Some people may want to blame the delay on the state of Ohio . But the Ohio side of this project is done.  

    Cynics are saying that the state wants to wait and do a ceremonial ribbon-cutting closer to the West Virginia primary in May, when it might be a good photo-op during Governor Manchin’s bid for re-election.

    My personal theory: they’re just waiting for the signs bearing the state’s second new slogan in two years to be finished before opening the bridge to traffic.

    You heard it here first!

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