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Author Topic: West Virginia highway bridges in the 1940s and early 1950s  (Read 975 times)

roadman

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West Virginia highway bridges in the 1940s and early 1950s
« on: January 27, 2022, 01:59:38 PM »

Have a question that I'm hoping others can help me with.  What color were State of West Virginia highway bridges, especially through truss type spans, painted in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  I'm guessing either silver or black, but I'd like confirmation.  This is for a project at the local model railroad club, whose layout is set in mid-1950s West Virginia and Virginia.

Thanks in advance.
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Dirt Roads

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Re: West Virginia highway bridges in the 1940s and early 1950s
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2022, 10:48:43 PM »

Have a question that I'm hoping others can help me with.  What color were State of West Virginia highway bridges, especially through truss type spans, painted in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  I'm guessing either silver or black, but I'd like confirmation.  This is for a project at the local model railroad club, whose layout is set in mid-1950s West Virginia and Virginia.

Thanks in advance.

Gosh, that's a time when the State Road Commission wasn't building many bridges.  The old Star City Bridge (built 1950) was a large thru-truss across the Monogahela.  It was painted light blue as far back as I can remember (but we didn't start using the Star City exit to access The Coliseum at WVU until most of I-79 was completed; my high school went to the basketball finals held there in 1979 and 1980).  The old Bridge Street Bridge for US-119 over the Three Fork in Grafton was built in 1951 and never repainted.  It looked rusty black as far back as I can remember, but the old pictures show an underlying silver paint layer:  https://bridgehunter.com/wv/taylor/46A015/

For the record, the Dunbar Toll Bridge (built 1953) and the Winfield Toll Bridge (built 1955) were both silver.  Those are not representative of typical State Road Commission contracts.  I should remember the specific differences, as it seems like both bridges were built by local authorities.  What I do remember is that the Dunbar Toll Bridge was bankrupted almost from the start, and the whole time I grew up it was owned and operated by the Chemical Bank.

Once upon a time, there were a bunch of short thru-truss spans along US-33 in Jackson and Roane counties.  I'm pretty sure that these were all constructed in the 1920s/1930s.  Those were all silver before the original paint rusted through.  I highly suspect the same for any bridge built in the 1940s, if there ever were any thru-truss bridges constructed during that timeframe.
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Bitmapped

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Re: West Virginia highway bridges in the 1940s and early 1950s
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2022, 06:06:35 PM »

From what I've seen, it looks like silver and/or light blue. I have circa-2004 photos of a couple through truss bridges that were obviously decades away from their last paint job.

I've also seen WV use a darker green on 1930s-era through truss bridges (see US 50 at Capon Bridge), but these paint jobs seem to have dated from the 1980s or later.

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Dirt Roads

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Re: West Virginia highway bridges in the 1940s and early 1950s
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2022, 06:38:33 PM »

From what I've seen, it looks like silver and/or light blue. I have circa-2004 photos of a couple through truss bridges that were obviously decades away from their last paint job.

I've also seen WV use a darker green on 1930s-era through truss bridges (see US 50 at Capon Bridge), but these paint jobs seem to have dated from the 1980s or later.

The Camelback Bridge over the Cacapon River on WV-9 is another one that was painted green later.  But all of that reminds me of the one dark green bridge that was constructed in the mid-1950s:  the original Chuck Yeager Bridge at the north end of the West Virginia Turnpike was completed in 1954.
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seicer

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Re: West Virginia highway bridges in the 1940s and early 1950s
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2022, 07:37:35 PM »

Most of the photos from that era that I've seen had bridges painted in silver.

roadman

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Re: West Virginia highway bridges in the 1940s and early 1950s
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2022, 05:25:55 PM »

Thanks everyone for the responses.  Sounds like silver is the safe bet here.
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"And ninety-five is the route you were on.  It was not the speed limit sign."  - Jim Croce (from Speedball Tucker)

"My life has been a tapestry
Of years of roads and highway signs" (with apologies to Carole King and Tom Rush)

Dirt Roads

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Re: West Virginia highway bridges in the 1940s and early 1950s
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2022, 06:39:22 PM »

Thanks everyone for the responses.  Sounds like silver is the safe bet here.

Unless you are modelling the time when the bridges were brand new, make sure you add plenty of rusty tones for realism.
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