Scenic USA - West Virginia

Van Metre Ford Bridge

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Van Metre Ford Bridge - Martinsburg,  West Virginia

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Built in 1832, the Van Metre Ford Bridge still carries light traffic every day. This 180 year old one-lane bridge, without any type of traffic signal, relies on proper crossing etiquette from area residents. One of West Virginia's oldest bridges and seeing 6000 vehicles a day, there should be no surprise that it's destined for replacement. If all goes according to plan, a three lane bridge is set to begin construction up river.
     The graceful, triple arch bridge was initially designed for wagon traffic, long before the invention of the automobile. Part of an east-west roadway connection from Alexandria, Virginia, to Berkeley Springs, Berkeley County sought the help of Pennsylvania bridge builder Silas Harry. Crossing Opequon Creek, the 165 foot bridge was constructed of ashlar limestone, supported by round-ended piers. Mortar erosion over the years reveals incredibly precise joints and fine craftsmanship. The only changes to the bridge was the addition of a concrete cap to the parapet walls and modern resurfacing of the road bed.
     Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, the Van Metre Ford Bridge will remain in its original location. Enduring as a classic landmark, the bridge is set to carry only foot traffic and looks forward to a well deserved retirement.

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