WEIRTON - A slab of steel from the Ft. Steuben Bridge has found its way to Starkville, Miss. where it will be analyzed by two Weirton natives.
Brothers Mark F. Horstemeyer, a professor of mechanical engineering, and Stephen Horstemeyer, manager of the Center of Adorned Vehicular Studies at Mississippi State University, will analyze the steel.
The 83-year-old span was demolished in late February using approximately 153 pounds of explosives placed at 136 locations along the span, which connected Ohio Route 7 with Freedom Way in Weirton.
"Many bridge spans across the U.S. rivers plus many train bridges that were constructed back then are still in use today," said Mark F. Horstemeyer. "Vintage steel seems to be a pretty good product that has lasted for 90 plus years."
The primary objective will be to date the vintage steel of the 1920's and 1930's as being comparable to steel being made in America today. They are examining the bridge steel for the U.S. Corps of Engineering and the Department of Homeland Security.
Mark and Stephen are the sons of Weirton residents Duke and Sherlene Horstemeyer.
The Ft. Steuben Bridge was opened in 1928, originally operating as a private toll bridge. It was the first suspension bridge crossing the Ohio River to have a concrete floor. It became a free facility in the 1950s when the state of Ohio took over ownership.
It was closed to traffic in 2009 because of safety concerns.