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Wrapping Up Rehabilitation of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge

The rehabilitation of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, a structure of rich historical significance, is nearing its completion. Advantage Steel & Construction commenced work on this iconic bridge shortly after being awarded the contract in 2021.

The most significant part of this rehabilitation work involved the meticulous removal of each of the existing 72 stay cables, 31 backstay cables, and 12 sway cables. Advantage Steel personnel carefully put together an intricate removal and installation process, which required the use of multiple winch systems, falsework towers, sky climbers, and of course, manpower. Prior to removal, Advantage personnel had to accurately record the existing tension in each cable using large-scale dynamometers, ensuring that what was taken off the bridge was replaced in kind without compromising the bridge’s structural integrity.

In addition to replacing the stay and sway cables, the anchorage for one of the bridge’s main structural components had experienced severe corrosion and needed replacement. With the help of Tunstall Engineering, our team members came up with a falsework plan to temporarily support the main stay cables load and transfer it to a brand-new anchorage point drilled for and placed by the Brayman Construction team.

Once the bridge’s structural components were replaced, it was painted, and lights were strung up on the cables and towers to really bring this historic landmark back to life.

As the project neared completion, some additional repairs were added to the scope of the work as Advantage crews discovered that years of exposure to the elements had caused one of the large timber members of the truss system to experience a significant amount of rotting. They brought this to the attention of the DOT, and upon review, it was decided that this member would indeed need to be removed and replaced. Precise field measurements were taken, and after undergoing a drying period, the new timber member was shipped to the job site. The existing compromised member was successfully removed at the beginning of 2024, and the new member was hoisted over the truss's edge, carefully moved into place, and secured into its proper position.

Finally, to close out the job, the northeast anchorage housing will be rebuilt. Due to the placement of the moved main cable to its new anchorage pile, the cable is now in direct line with where the anchorage housing originally sat. Because of its historical nature, it was imperative to the DOT that the original stones be used to rebuild the housing, so Advantage Steel devised a plan to pour a concrete wall that encased the main cable and cut the original stones at the face to be mortared to the newly poured wall. This will successfully preserve the original look of the housing while keeping it structurally sound.

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge Project is a testament to Advantage Steel & Construction’s expertise and problem-solving skills. It has presented unique challenges that have tested our ability to develop complex plans and procedures while still requiring us to think on the fly when faced with new variables. We are proud of our team's adaptability and dedication to delivering a successful project.

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