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Author Topic: Oldtown, MD toll bridge  (Read 22074 times)

algorerhythms

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Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« on: December 08, 2009, 12:23:26 AM »

Apparently some controversy has developed over a proposal to raise tolls on the privately-owned toll bridge connecting Oldtown, MD, to Green Spring, WV. Local residents are worried over whether the increased tolls would go to repair the bridge. The bridge is rather important to the people nearby, as the nearest river crossings are at Cumberland, 15 miles west, and at Paw Paw, 12 miles east.

Article: http://www.times-news.com/archivesearch/local_story_334234600.html
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SP Cook

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2009, 07:24:13 AM »

$66K seems like a drop in the bucket to a state government.  However, you have to be careful because once you take stuff into the state system, people want it upgraded.
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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2009, 09:27:39 AM »

$66K seems like a drop in the bucket to a state government.  However, you have to be careful because once you take stuff into the state system, people want it upgraded.

This sounds similar to the situation involving the privately-owned toll bridge at Nolan, WV. The owner closed it because he didn't have time to continue to run it and couldn't afford to pay someone to take tolls, IIRC, plus the new US 52/119 crossings into Kentucky had taken a lot of traffic off of it, and the state of West Virginia wouldn't take ownership of the structure because of its condition. Is this an accurate summary of the situation?

Last time I was up that way it appeared that the bridge was not barricaded on the WV side.
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SP Cook

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 06:40:59 AM »

Yes.  At one time that bridge served a purpose for people in that community, and it allowed the through traffic to bypass the street of Williamson.  Now with Corridor G finished it really serves no purpose, as you can cross for free a mile away, and the new road bypasses the town anyway.

While this is the only toll bridge I know of, when I was with the DOH, we were asked to take a lot of little private bridges into the system.  We had a very detailed process, because we did not want to lump on future liability of upkeep.

Tell you a story, which I call "Aunt of the Year."

Little up a hollow place in Lincoln County, five or six houses.  Private dirt road, including a bridge over a creek.  Homemade, no big deal.  Nobody goes up the hollow but the people that live there, no reason to.  For decades the kids walk the couple of hundred years to the main road to catch the school bus. 

Then one of the residents has a handicapped child.  Handicapped children have to be picked up at the door by the special bus.  But buses cannot cross private bridges (the bridge in question was not a long as said bus).  So we have to go through this whole process to take the road and bridge into the state system.  And the actual owner wants $50K for the bridge, which you could replicate for maybe $5K.  Then the engineers tell us we have to spend $40K to upgrade the bridge and then everytime it snows the b***h is the first one to call wanting the snow cleared.

She was the aunt of the hanidcapped child. 

I hope she enjoyed using a 6 year old crippled child to get a few $$.
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hbelkins

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 08:55:00 AM »

Little up a hollow place in Lincoln County, five or six houses.  Private dirt road, including a bridge over a creek.  Homemade, no big deal.  Nobody goes up the hollow but the people that live there, no reason to.  For decades the kids walk the couple of hundred years to the main road to catch the school bus. 

Lincoln County? Oh joy. Probably a distant relative of mine...  :angry:
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2013, 07:10:51 PM »

Washington Post: Truck driver rescued from Potomac after tractor trailer topples off wooden bridge

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A truck driver was pulled from the Potomac River after his tractor trailer toppled off a wooden bridge in Oldtown.

Quote
Authorities say the truck loaded with railroad ties plunged into the river just before 9 a.m. Wednesday.
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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 09:49:39 AM »

Thread bumped to ask whether any of you have driven over the Oldtown toll bridge and, if so, whether it's worth going out of one's way to drive over it. We're heading up to Bedford, PA, later this month and I'm bored with the Interstate route, have taken US-522 through the West Virginia Panhandle before, and went around through Romney last time, so the Oldtown toll bridge caught my eye as a possible new route that's certainly unique (provided, of course, there isn't a lot of rain in the week prior to the trip).

Google Maps says it adds about 50 miles and one hour to the trip.

I know the other alternative in that area is to go via Paw Paw and see the C&O Canal's tunnel. I seem to recall visiting there 25 years ago on a Boy Scout trip as part of a never-completed effort to hike the entire C&O in stages, hence why I thought of the bridge this time.
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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2013, 03:21:28 PM »

I've seen it, but never crossed it (it was closed at the time I saw it by the State Highway Administration for reasons of safety).

Peter Samuel discussed it not so long ago (with  pictures):

Oldtown Bridge MD-WV facing major regulatory problems for toll hike

Oldtown Historic Toll Bridge MD-WV looking to get state OK to triple tolls 50c to $1.50 after 35 years



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Alps

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2013, 06:04:54 PM »

*looks at Google street view*
How the hell do they justify charging a toll for that? They should pay ME to cross it. (Though I feel that way about roads in general.)

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2013, 06:11:30 PM »

*looks at Google street view*
How the hell do they justify charging a toll for that? They should pay ME to cross it. (Though I feel that way about roads in general.)

Because the U.S. Congress, in its infinite wisdom, apparently  granted the person or persons that built the original bridge some sort of a franchise to run a toll bridge at this location.  Never mind that the entire Potomac River, up to the high-water mark on the West Virginia side, is Maryland territory.
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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2013, 08:38:25 AM »

We drove over the Oldtown toll bridge this past Friday on our way to Pennsylvania for the weekend. I'll have video and pictures when we get home Monday and I can download. Interesting and unique experience (although I think there's a similar non-tolled bridge near Front Royal, VA, that looks like a ford on Google's satellite view due to high water). Some of the boards forming the road surface are rather loose and stick up at odd angles. The toll-taker has a metal cup on a long pole he extends out a window to your car.

I took a mega back route through West Virginia to get there because we went through Romney last time we were up here. I took US-522 northwest to VA-127, which in turn becomes WV-127 and then WV-29; turned off onto CR-3 to CR-1 to the bridge. Route 3, in particular, felt like someone laid down a road wherever there was a path for pavement.
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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2013, 10:39:44 PM »

We drove over the Oldtown toll bridge this past Friday on our way to Pennsylvania for the weekend. I'll have video and pictures when we get home Monday and I can download. Interesting and unique experience (although I think there's a similar non-tolled bridge near Front Royal, VA, that looks like a ford on Google's satellite view due to high water). Some of the boards forming the road surface are rather loose and stick up at odd angles. The toll-taker has a metal cup on a long pole he extends out a window to your car.

Makes me wonder what they would do if you simply drove off without paying. Dingman's Ferry has the people right there in the road pretty much.

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2013, 01:23:57 AM »

We drove over the Oldtown toll bridge this past Friday on our way to Pennsylvania for the weekend. I'll have video and pictures when we get home Monday and I can download. Interesting and unique experience (although I think there's a similar non-tolled bridge near Front Royal, VA, that looks like a ford on Google's satellite view due to high water). Some of the boards forming the road surface are rather loose and stick up at odd angles. The toll-taker has a metal cup on a long pole he extends out a window to your car.

Makes me wonder what they would do if you simply drove off without paying. Dingman's Ferry has the people right there in the road pretty much.

They have gates.  Not nearly as potentially damaging  as the gates on the  Dulles Greenway (which are heavy and will do damage to a vehicle that tries to pass one in the down position, but I suspect that potential toll violators don't know that.  $1.50 one-way.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2013, 01:27:28 AM »

We drove over the Oldtown toll bridge this past Friday on our way to Pennsylvania for the weekend. I'll have video and pictures when we get home Monday and I can download. Interesting and unique experience (although I think there's a similar non-tolled bridge near Front Royal, VA, that looks like a ford on Google's satellite view due to high water). Some of the boards forming the road surface are rather loose and stick up at odd angles. The toll-taker has a metal cup on a long pole he extends out a window to your car.

I took a mega back route through West Virginia to get there because we went through Romney last time we were up here. I took US-522 northwest to VA-127, which in turn becomes WV-127 and then WV-29; turned off onto CR-3 to CR-1 to the bridge. Route 3, in particular, felt like someone laid down a road wherever there was a path for pavement.

Great minds think alike.  I combined a trip out to the (current) end of the eastern part of Corridor H at W.Va. 93 near Greenland, W.Va. (the  connector road has a steep grade) with a trip across the Oldtown toll bridge (yes, I also took a few pictures).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2013, 01:29:25 AM »

We drove over the Oldtown toll bridge this past Friday on our way to Pennsylvania for the weekend. I'll have video and pictures when we get home Monday and I can download. Interesting and unique experience (although I think there's a similar non-tolled bridge near Front Royal, VA, that looks like a ford on Google's satellite view due to high water). Some of the boards forming the road surface are rather loose and stick up at odd angles. The toll-taker has a metal cup on a long pole he extends out a window to your car.

Makes me wonder what they would do if you simply drove off without paying. Dingman's Ferry has the people right there in the road pretty much.

On White's Ferry (the other privately-owned toll crossing of the Potomac River), the  tolls are collected as the ferry  crosses the river by the operator of the ferry.

Maybe they don't let a patron without funds leave the ferry?
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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2013, 01:39:08 AM »

Dingman's Ferry has been a bridge since 1836.

Wikipedia says: "Under the terms of its charter, churchgoers, schoolchildren, and funeral processions were given free passage, a condition that is still in effect today." So just claim you're going to church, I guess.
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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2013, 08:02:50 AM »

We drove over the Oldtown toll bridge this past Friday on our way to Pennsylvania for the weekend. I'll have video and pictures when we get home Monday and I can download. Interesting and unique experience (although I think there's a similar non-tolled bridge near Front Royal, VA, that looks like a ford on Google's satellite view due to high water). Some of the boards forming the road surface are rather loose and stick up at odd angles. The toll-taker has a metal cup on a long pole he extends out a window to your car.

I took a mega back route through West Virginia to get there because we went through Romney last time we were up here. I took US-522 northwest to VA-127, which in turn becomes WV-127 and then WV-29; turned off onto CR-3 to CR-1 to the bridge. Route 3, in particular, felt like someone laid down a road wherever there was a path for pavement.

Great minds think alike.  I combined a trip out to the (current) end of the eastern part of Corridor H at W.Va. 93 near Greenland, W.Va. (the  connector road has a steep grade) with a trip across the Oldtown toll bridge (yes, I also took a few pictures).

That's funny, as I've been considering the idea of heading home later today via Corridor H, especially if we decide to go out to Fallingwater after checking out here.
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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2013, 10:43:12 AM »

That's funny, as I've been considering the idea of heading home later today via Corridor H, especially if we decide to go out to Fallingwater after checking out here.

The views from Corridor H are pretty spectacular on a nice day.  As are many of the massive cuts that had to be made through the ridges.
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1995hoo

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2013, 11:43:31 AM »

That's funny, as I've been considering the idea of heading home later today via Corridor H, especially if we decide to go out to Fallingwater after checking out here.

The views from Corridor H are pretty spectacular on a nice day.  As are many of the massive cuts that had to be made through the ridges.

Yeah, we used part of it on a rainy day last October and it was a nice drive even then. We're at Fallingwater now waiting for the tour and it couldn't be a nicer day, so I may well take Corridor H. Much nicer route than I-70.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2013, 07:17:48 PM »

BTW.....something that shocked me about the Oldtown toll bridge is that the toll booth had a sign up saying they take credit cards!

Pictures to come, probably tomorrow or later in the week since there are some 500+ from the whole weekend, and that's not counting the dashcam videos.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2013, 07:49:48 PM »

That's funny, as I've been considering the idea of heading home later today via Corridor H, especially if we decide to go out to Fallingwater after checking out here.

The views from Corridor H are pretty spectacular on a nice day.  As are many of the ridges that WV chose to destroy.
FTFY

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2013, 12:36:45 AM »

That's funny, as I've been considering the idea of heading home later today via Corridor H, especially if we decide to go out to Fallingwater after checking out here.

The views from Corridor H are pretty spectacular on a nice day.  As are many of the ridges that WV chose to destroy.
FTFY

Would you have preferred that they not blow the entire ridge away, but tunnel instead?

Or not build Corridor H  at all?

FWIW, Maryland did consider bored tunnels through Sideling Hill for I-68, but selected the massive cut that's there today as a cheaper alternative.
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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2013, 06:29:27 AM »

Quote
Would you have preferred that they not blow the entire ridge away, but tunnel instead?

It's possible he's also referring to the strip-mining of other ridges or the implemetation of wind turbines on many of the ridges in eastern WV.

Quote
Or not build Corridor H  at all?

From a traffic standpoint, Corridor H was (and still is) completely unnecessary.  If there's any road in that area of WV that needed improvement due to traffic, it'd be US 50...a point you even alluded to in another thread.
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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2013, 10:00:28 AM »

Pictures and video of the Oldtown bridge and the approach from the West Virginia side. In the video, you'll see I come to a stop right before going onto the bridge even though it's clear; that was simply to allow Ms1995hoo to get a better picture. She also took some pictures of the river, but those didn't come out as well due to reflections in the glass.

I had wondered from Google Street View images how well you could see whether the way is clear when you're driving north. No worries—from the stop sign you can see the bridge quite well. Note also that this picture is from the passenger seat—from the driver's seat the view is clearer.



Entering the bridge itself:




I found it weird how, about three-quarters of the way across, the surface abruptly changes. It feels like they added boards to part of bridge, maybe to smooth out the ride, but didn't do so at the northern end.




Privately-owned bridge, privately-erected signs. You can't tell in this photo (I remark on it in the video), but the second sign (white sign in the background) is erroneous—it says "Toll Bridge Ahead" when in fact you've already crossed the bridge. It should say "Toll Booth Ahead."




They take Discover, MasterCard, and VISA!




My wife loved this:




Click to play video. It's a little grainy; Photobucket resized it. This is a raw upload; later this week I might get around to editing it and re-sizing and hopefully that would clean up some of the graininess.

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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Oldtown, MD toll bridge
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2013, 12:10:20 PM »

Quote
Would you have preferred that they not blow the entire ridge away, but tunnel instead?

It's possible he's also referring to the strip-mining of other ridges or the implemetation of wind turbines on many of the ridges in eastern WV.

That could be.  I respect your opinion (and his opinion) either way.

Quote
Or not build Corridor H  at all?

From a traffic standpoint, Corridor H was (and still is) completely unnecessary.  If there's any road in that area of WV that needed improvement due to traffic, it'd be US 50...a point you even alluded to in another thread.

I agree with you.  But consider that one of its purposes is to induce demand, which will hopefully stimulate economic activity in a part of the United States that could use same.

As for upgrading U.S. 50 across the Potomac Highlands (Grant, Mineral, and Hampshire Counties, W.Va.), I suppose it could be done (it's been four lane divided in Virginia for as long as I can remember, though I believe that is a different alignment from the original U.S. 50 between Winchester and the W.Va. border), and such improvements would probably benefit Romney.

But to upgrade 50 to something like Corridor H would probably require an entirely new highway on a new alignment.  Not sure it would be worthwhile to try and build a four lane expressway-type road along existing U.S. 50.  Clearly the existing U.S. 50 right-of-way does not have room for that.
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