UPDATE: Mayor: Three agencies interested in buying Memorial Toll Bridge

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PARKERSBURG, W. Va (WTAP) - Update: 3/17/2019

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce says there are some people interested in buying the Memorial Toll Bridge.

Joyce did not name them, but said this past week at least three agencies are interested in the span.

He did say they appear to be owners of infrastructure in other cities and small communities.

Joyce says those communities have shared information about the toll bridge with the interested parties.

"There's annual bridge reports that are prepared by a third party. They take into account traffic, revenue and the structure, the maintenance schedule and the demolition fund, the component and the lifespan of the bridge. They've all been given the same information; it's information we receive annually."

Parkersburg City Council in late 2018 approved selling the bridge, which the city has owned for more than 20 years.

UPDATE 2/11/19

Wood County commissioners confirmed Monday that they will not be buying the Parkersburg Memorial Toll Bridge at the weekly commission meeting.

Commissioner Blair Couch said the city had to first see if another local entity - in this case, the county -- was interested in purchasing the span. But as he pointed out last month, the county simply does not have the resources to maintain, or eventually replace, the bridge.

"During the discussion, we decided that we would not take the bridge and allow it go up for public sale," Couch said. "The hope is a private company will purchase and I'm sure the city of Parkersburg will make it contingent upon demo and replacement."

Parkersburg city councilman John Reed says the city has to report back to the state, which has the option of buying it, before officials can put the bridge up for sale and out for public bids.

UPDATE: 01/28/2019

The Wood County Commission said Monday it has no interest in owning the Parkersburg Memorial Toll Bridge, after the City of Parkersburg says it plans to sell the bridge.

The Wood County Commission recently received a letter from the City of Parkersburg, stating the city will sell the Parkersburg Memorial Toll Bridge, and the County Commission has until mid-April to decide if it wants to purchase the bridge or not.

Commissioners plan to discuss the issue further in February, but some Commissioners say they believe the County doesn't have the proper staff to maintain the bridge, which opened in 1954.

Commissioner Blair Couch says, "There's too many fears involved, but, number one, we don't have an engineering department for maintenance for roads. That's not us, we don't do that."

Couch says a private company may be interested in owning the bridge, and eventually replacing it.

Parkersburg City Council approved a resolution on December 18, 2019, allowing the city to explore options to possibly sell the bridge.

ORIGINAL STORY: 12/18/2018

On a meeting on December 18, 2018, Parkersburg City Council voted unanimously to explore options to potentially sell the Memorial Bridge to another party in the future.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce says the Memorial Bridge is not in bad repair, but the city is looking to possibly sell the bridge to another entity who could eventually replace the aging structure.

Parkersburg City Attorney Joe Santer stresses that the city maintains a fund for the demolition of the bridge as part of the original agreement for taking over the toll-bridge years ago.

Mayor Joyce says, "We can maintain the bridge. we can fund for the demolition of the bridge, but as far as replacement costs, we're never going to have those funds. In today's dollars, you're talking anywhere from $80-million to $100-million dollars."

The resolution authorizing exploring the option of selling the bridge was approved unanimously.

In other council news, Mike Reynolds will be the new council president in 2019, and Zack Stanley will be the Vice President.

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