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Could the Bellaire Bridge soon come down?

Benwood Police Chief Frank Longwell said a judge ordered a feasibility study on the bridge. He hopes once that study is complete, the dilapidated bridge will be torn down.

Big steps are being taken regarding the Bellaire Bridge.

Benwood Police Chief Frank Longwell said a judge ordered a feasibility study on the bridge. He hopes once that study is complete, the dilapidated bridge will be torn down.

"We were summoned to Columbus, Ohio by a federal judge last Friday, as well as a lot of other key people," Longwell said.

Longwell, along with the Ohio Attorney General's Office, engineers with the Ohio Department of Transportation, West Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Coast Guard discussed what can be done to get the bridge down.

"The Coast Guard believes that the concrete pillars can remain in the water,” Longwell said. “Those can be used for tying off the river barges, etc. That's a million-dollar savings."

With liens on the bridge and the fact the city doesn't own the structure, officials thought there was no hope on tearing it down, but this recent meeting gave them options.

"The city of Benwood could waive fees,” Longwell said. “We could condemn the bridge as a municipality, which would get rid of the $2 million worth of liens that's on the bridge.”

The federal judge ordered a feasibility study that will help discover the best solution.

"One, how to take the bridge down?” Longwell asked. “Two, what's the bridge worth in metal? And when that's all completed, he will order everyone back in his chambers to get some kind of action plan together."

For Benwood, something needs to happen soon. Longwell says every day the bridge continues to stand is a major risk.

“The concrete is right over our part of the city, every year it just deteriorates and we get more and more chunks of concrete falling. It’s very dangerous situation for the city," he said.

Longwell says the feasibility study will probably take place within the next month.

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