West Virginia April 17, 2020
Built In The 1800s, The Parkersburg Railroad Bridge In West Virginia Was Once The Longest Bridge In The World
West Virginia has some really great bridges. The
New River Gorge Bridge is a well-deserved favorite, but sometimes we forget about all the other bridges around the state that are pretty impressive as well!
One underappreciated but truly amazing West Virginia bridge is the Parkersburg Railroad Bridge that spans the Ohio River between Parkersburg, West Virginia and Belpre, Ohio.
This massive, 150-year-old bridge is also known as the Sixth Street Railroad Bridge.
The Parkersburg Railroad Bridge was the longest bridge in the world at the time of its construction, from 1869-1871. The bridge was built by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
It spans an impressive 7,140 feet.
Although it no longer holds claim to the longest bridge in the world, the Parkersburg CSX Bridge is still the longest bridge in West Virginia.
For comparison, 7,140 feet is 1.35 miles and more than twice the length of the New River Gorge Bridge.
The bridge, designed by Jacob Linville, has 46 spans and 53 stone piers.
It's still standing strong 150 years later and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Not only that, but this CSX bridge still handles some freight train traffic between Parkersburg and Relief, Ohio along the Marietta Subdivision.
Car traffic crossing the Ohio River in this area has the choice of the Memorial Bridge on one side of the Sixth Street Railroad Bridge or the Parkersburg-Belpre Bridge on the other.
All three bridges are easily visible from various places around Parkersburg, including the ferry to Blennerhasset Island State Park.
As pictured, occasionally you can even see a fourth bridge spanning the Ohio River: a rainbow! We can't guarantee that one, though.
Did you know the amazing history behind the Sixth Street Parkersburg Railroad Bridge? For more West Virginia bridge history, try
ten more you can actually cross! Address: 39.270970, -81.565700