During the closure, motorists were forced to go at least nine miles out of the way to make it to the other side of the river. Many people who were out walking Thursday talked about how they lived in Nitro and banked in St. Albans or lived in St. Albans and worked in Cross Lanes.
"Mercy, nobody can be anymore glad than me to have it back open," said Wanda Cyrus, 75, as she climbed the incline on the Nitro side to make her way back to St. Albans, where she lives. "I didn't know if I could make it, but I'm doing alright. It's higher than the last one," said Cyrus, who took a break to snap a photograph of the others making their way across.
"It's been a long 10 months," said Melody McCormick, who owns "Castaways" bar and grill in Nitro. "This is a big deal for us."
McCormick is holding a "Welcome Back 25177" party on Friday (St. Albans' zip code). "We had a lot of customers from there," she said.
Many business owners stood on both sides of the bridge handing out coupons and reminding people of their services.
"It's been tough. Kroger depends a lot on its Nitro customers and Rio Grande depends a lot on St. Albans," said St. Albans Police Capt. James Agee, as he stood at the top of the Nitro side of the bridge.
"You're on the wrong side," said one woman passing by who nudged him and laughed.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.