The Silver Bridge Tragedy

At the time of the Silver Bridge construction, eyebar bridges had been built for about 100 years. Such bridges had usually been constructed from redundant bar links, using rows of four to six bars, sometimes using several such chains in parallel.  The eyebars in the Silver Bridge were not redundant, as links were composed of only two bars each, of high-strength steel (more than twice the tensile strength of common mild steel), rather than a thick stack of thinner bars of modest material strength "combed" together, as is usual for redundancy. With only two bars, the failure of one could impose excessive loading on the second, causing total failure.  It did.....



Silver Bridge

The Silver Bridge is listed here because at one time it stood just downriver from the K & M Railroad Bridge. 


Silver Bridge

On December 15,1967 at approximately 5 p.m., the U.S. Highway 35 bridge, otherwise known as The Silver Bridge connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Kanauga Ohio suddenly collapsed into the Ohio River.

At the time of failure, thirty- seven vehicles were crossing the bridge span, and thirty-one of those automobiles fell with the bridge. Forty- six individuals perished with the buckling of the bridge and nine were seriously injured. Along with the numerous fatalities and injuries, a major transportation route connecting West Virginia and Ohio was destroyed, disrupting the lives of many and striking fear across the nation.  

The bridge was dubbed the 'Silver Bridge' because it was the country's first aluminum painted bridge. It was designed with a twenty-two foot roadway and one five-foot sidewalk. Some unique engineering techniques were featured on the Silver Bridge such as 'High Tension' eye-bar chains, a unique anchorage system, and 'Rocker" towers. The Silver Bridge was the first eye-bar suspension bridge of its type to be constructed in the United States. 


Silver Bridge


A scale model of the original Silver Bridge can be seen at the Point Pleasant River Museum. An archive of literature about the bridge is kept there for public inspection. On the lower ground floor, the museum displays an eyebar assembly from the original bridge.