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Fifty Years Later, West Virginia Remembers Silver Bridge Disaster

In 1967, the bridge collapsed after an eyebar in a suspension chain failed, killing 46 people.

Wed December 13, 2017 - National Edition
Emily Buenzle


The Silver Bridge was built in 1928 over the Ohio River to connect Point Pleasant, W.Va. with Gallipolis, Ohio. In 1967, the bridge collapsed after an eyebar in a suspension chain failed, killing 46 people.
The Silver Bridge was built in 1928 over the Ohio River to connect Point Pleasant, W.Va. with Gallipolis, Ohio. In 1967, the bridge collapsed after an eyebar in a suspension chain failed, killing 46 people.

The West Virginia Division of Highways will hold an observance to mark the 50th anniversary of the Silver Bridge Disaster at 11 a.m. on Dec. 15.

“It was important for the West Virginia Division of Highways to get involved with the 50th anniversary of the Silver Bridge collapse for many reasons,” said Tom Smith, secretary for the West Virginia Department of Transportation. “It wasn't to re-live the tragedy that took 46 lives, but to recognize and acknowledge the program that came as a result, saving thousands of lives across the nation … the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS). We also wanted to help Mason County, the City of Point Pleasant, and the surrounding area honor those lives lost and support a community that was forever changed,” the Point Pleasant Register reported.

The event will feature public figures including West Virginia Governor Jim Justice; Brandye Hendrickson, acting administrator for the FHWA; Edward Stephen, West Virginia division administrator of the FHWA; and U.S. Congressman Evan Jenkins, among others, the Point Pleasant Register reported. Other highlights will include a presentation of colors by the West Virginia National Guard, a performance of the National Anthem by the West Virginia National Guard Band, and a remembrance of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

The Silver Bridge was built in 1928 over the Ohio River to connect Point Pleasant, W. Va. with Gallipolis, Ohio. In 1967, the bridge collapsed after an eyebar in a suspension chain failed, killing 46 people.