On March 23, the new SR 833/Pomeroy-Mason Bridge was renamed the “Bridge of Honor” as a tribute to three local veterans, Staff Sergeant Jimmy G. Stewart of Mason, W.Va., and General James V. Hartinger and Corporal Edward A. Bennett both of Middleport, Ohio.
The dedication began at 10 a.m. and featured both Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio and West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III. Also in attendance were ODOT’s Director of Transportation Jolene M. Molitoris and West Virginia Secretary of Transportation Paul Mattox Jr.
The American Legion Post 128 Color Guard from Middleport conducted the twenty-one gun salute and River Blend Barbershop Quartet sang the National Anthem.
Stewart, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery and sacrifice in The Vietnam War, protected his wounded squad during a surprise attack in the early morning. Stewart selflessly gave his life to protect and save his wounded squad members until reinforcements rescued and evacuated his remaining comrades to safety.
Known as the “Founding Father” of the Air Force Space Command, Hartinger was a four-star General with the United States Air Force. His distinguished military career spanned over five decades in which he was a fighter pilot, Commander-in-Chief of NORAD, the first recipient of the Master Space Badge, and advisor on Air Force and space matters until his passing on Oct. 9, 2000.
Stationed in Germany during World War II, Bennett and his patrol came under severe enemy fire which caused several casualties among his infantry. Bennett single-handedly dispatched seven German soldiers as he made his way to dispose of the enemy fire. Bennett’s courageous display of combat skills allowed for the American forces to remove all German resistance from the town. Bennett was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valiant effort and bravery.
“The Bridge of Honor stands as a testament to the strength, will and dedication of all servicemen and women who continue to make the selfless sacrifices to protect our freedom,” stated Strickland. “In addition, the Bridge of Honor will provide a vital transportation link between Pomeroy and Mason and it will foster economic growth in the communities.”
Manchin stated, “I am pleased that the construction of the new Pomeroy-Mason Bridge has been completed and has given the region another sustainable route for day-to-day travel, commerce and growth for the states of West Virginia and Ohio. As a debt of gratitude, it is fitting that the bridge bears the names of three servicemen who committed themselves to protect and serve our country.”
Opened for public use on Dec. 30, 2008, the Bridge of Honor replaced the original 1928 cantilever truss structure, which had become functionally obsolete. Along with the constant flow of barge and waterway traffic, the new four-lane cable stayed suspension bridge will better serve the 11,500 vehicles that travel daily from Pomeroy to Mason.
“The replacement of the original 1928 bridge illustrates ODOT’s continued focus on advancing Ohio’s infrastructure to ensure the safety of every citizen as well as maximizing economic development for the region,” affirmed Larry Woodford, District 10 deputy director of ODOT. “These two communities rely heavily on its people, government and businesses for future growth. It is exciting to provide the essential resources the area needs for continued enrichment and development.”
Construction on the $65 million project began in 2003.
The following outlines the structural elements of the bridge:
• 6.9 million lbs. (3.1 million kg) of steel was used to construct the bridge
• More than 15,000 cu. yds. (11,470 cu m) of concrete was used, which is enough to fill four Olympic size pools
• The twin towers stretch over 250 ft. (76.2 m) vertically from the water
• Local officials and residents provided detailed input on the design of the 730 by 35 ft. (222 by 10.7 m) structural retaining wall depicting life along the Ohio River
• Broke ground on May 9, 2003, and opened for travel on Dec. 30, 2008.