Photo courtesy of Jim Sturm
1962 Newspaper Account by Bob Weaver: Times Record
Two Spencer men, both intoxicated passengers, claimed to have knocked
Arnoldsburg bridge from its moorings last Thursday, causing it to
collapse in the West
Fork of the Little Kanawha.
An intoxicated passenger said, "My god, look what we did," almost bragging.
The driver of the vehicle, Hugh Simmons,
drinking, according to Calhoun County State Police.
Greyhound buses, Calhoun school buses, tractor trailers and several
passenger cars crossed the 54-year-old bridge on U.S. 33-119 earlier
in the day.
Police cast doubt on the men's claims of knocking down the bridge, but
arrested and held in the Grantsville jail for twenty days. No one was
injured when the
Paul Fleming, Arnoldsburg drilling contractor, heard
the bridge go
down and went to the scene. "It went down rather quietly," said
Fleming, who lives
"I chained the car to keep it from going on down," he said, climbing
down to assist the
Fleming then used his CB radio to call Gifford Weaver at Hur
who called the
Sinnett Funeral Home in Spencer to alert emergency services.
Such experiences are nothing new for Fleming, who has aided victims of
curve on the Arnoldsburg end of the bridge "More times than I can
drivers always seemed to be piling their car against the bridge, going
railings, driving into the river or meeting another car head-on on the
A strange angle, The State Road Commission advertised for bids to
structure earlier in the morning. A new bridge had been proposed for
Meanwhile, the tremendous volume of traffic has been detoured through
Jesse's Run Road, but larger vehicles are required to return to Clay
and travel to
Spencer via State Route 36.
Fleming claimed the intoxicated men bragged aloud about knocking down
but he said the front end of the car received minimal damage. "It was
just ready to go,
I think," he said.
Editor's Note: The recalling of the collapsed Arnoldsburg bridge from 1962 was prompted by a
news story today saying 41% of West Virginia bridges
are "functionally obsolete and structurally deficient" by the Division
of Highways, most of them on two-lane roads. There are
2,639 that might end up like the old Arnoldsburg bridge.