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Oldtown Toll Bridge - Maryland and West Virginia

 


The Oldtown Toll Bridge linking Oldtown, Maryland over the Potomac River with neighboring Green Spring, West Virginia is only one of a few truly privately owned toll bridges located in the United States. It's a simple bridge by design, as the 318 foot long Oldtown Toll Bridge is a low water bridge. Low water bridges are designed to allow water to safely and efficiently flow over the bridge deck. Additionally, a dozen concrete pedestals have been secured in the Potomac River in order to support the bridge and wooden deck.

The bridge was constructed in 1937 when a gentleman by the name of Mr. Carpenter obtained the proper permits to build the Bridge through an Act of Congress. This was a blessing for residents, especially on the West Virginia side of the Potomac River, as it saved motorists commuting to Cumberland an hour in travel time. Using Mr. Carpenter's blueprints, the Army Corp of Engineers and a number of local laborers constructed the bridge and it remained under the same ownership for 34 years until 1971.

Later, in 1987, Charles Walters purchased the bridge. When he passed away in 1991, his wife, Frances inherited the business operations of the bridge. After this, the bridge almost went under a wrecking ball when the county commissioners cited the bridge to be unsafe and put up barricades to prevent travel across the bridge. However, the barricades did not stop people from using the bridge as they were accustomed to travel across the Oldtown Toll Bridge. The people took down the barricades and crossed the bridge anyway during this period. The bridge was restored in 1999 with grants from both West Virginia and Maryland.

Today, the Oldtown Toll Bridge remains as a popular and unique way to travel across the Potomac River. Local businesses and residents depend on the bridge to make travel to such destinations as Cumberland, Maryland a relatively quick jaunt. The bridge's location down the road from Lock 70 of the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal makes this a historically interesting area to visit. The Oldtown Toll Bridge also has a number of campsites nearby, and the bridge is also used for recreational purposes along the Potomac River, such as for boating or fishing. I had the opportunity to check out this simple bridge over Memorial Day Weekend in 2022 and had an enjoyable time finding out what the Oldtown Toll Bridge is all about.


The toll booth for the Oldtown Toll Bridge is located on the Maryland side of the bridge. While there is no electronic tolling, you can pay your toll with cash or card.

Toll rates for the Oldtown Toll Bridge as of May 2022.

Approaching the Oldtown Toll Bridge from the Maryland side of the river.

Looking at the Oldtown Toll Bridge from the Maryland bank of the Potomac River.

Looking at the Oldtown Toll Bridge from the Maryland bank of the Potomac River.

Looking west at the Potomac River. The river is rather peaceful here.

Approaching the bridge from the West Virginia side of the Potomac River.

Looking at the Oldtown Toll Bridge from the West Virginia bank of the Potomac River.


How to Get There:



Sources and Links:
Bridgehunter.com - Oldtown Low-Water Toll Bridge
HistoricBridges.org - Oldtown Toll Bridge
Maryland Office of Tourism - Old Town Historical Toll Bridge
Oldtown Historic Toll Bridge - History
WV Uncovered on YouTube - Oldtown Toll Bridge

Comments

Br0kenR0ads said…
CHEcK OUT this video of crossing the old town toll bridge.
Br0kenR0ads said…
https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZTRkFBhCr/?k=1
Unknown said…
Good report I've crossed this bridge many times

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