But Withrow said no one today knows why she crossed the bridge that day. Maybe she was on her way for a round of golf, or maybe she just crossed the bridge on a whim.
"She was a wonderful lady," Withrow recalled. "She could do anything a man could do."
The Nitro-St. Albans Bridge is reopening after a 10-month shutdown to replace the bridge deck. Pedestrians will be allowed to walk across the bridge from 5 to 7 p.m. today, but the bridge will be officially dedicated at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
"It will be a full-blown ceremony," said Brent Walker, spokesman for the state Division of Highways. St. Albans Mayor Dick Callaway and Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt will speak, and color guards and bands from Nitro and St. Albans high schools will be present.
State highways officials decided to replace the bridge deck on top of the existing piers to save construction time and the amount of time the bridge was closed to traffic. Pier work started in February 2012, and the bridge was closed for the deck replacement in January.
"The bridge was closed to traffic for just under 10 months, which is pretty remarkable when you think about building a bridge," Walker said. The project cost about $24 million.
He said the bridge is actually opening a week or so ahead of schedule. Executives with contractors Kokosing Construction, who did the work on the bridge, took advantage of a $1 million incentive to open the bridge early.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.