S-Bridges of the Old National Road

Mile Marker along the Old National Road in eastern Ohio, 175 miles west of Cumberland, Maryland

The National Road was the first paved, with gravel, major highway in the United States. It started in Cumberland, Maryland in 1811 and continued westward to Vandalia, Illinois when in 1837 the funding ran out. In Ohio it runs across the state from Wheeling, West Virginia on the east, through the cities of St.Clairsville, Cambridge, Zanesville, Columbus, Springfield, just north of Dayton to Richmond, Indiana. It is paralleled by U.S. Rt 40 and Interstate I-70 along it’s entire original length.

There are many historic architectural remnants along the Old National Road in Ohio, including several old bridges. The suspension bridge across the Ohio River at Wheeling at the east end was completed in 1849 and the Y-Bridge at Zanesville that was first constructed in 1814 but has been replaced five times, most recently in 1984. Last week we took a day trip along the eastern part of the Old National Road to look for the five remaining S-Bridges in the state. In the upcoming week, I will post a photograph of one each day.

The Wheeling Suspension Bridge in downtown Wheeling, taken in 2016 before being closed to vehicular traffic in 2019