Inspection of Ironton-Russell Bridge set for this morningPublished 9:25am Monday, December 31, 2012
Inspectors from the Ohio Department of Transportation were scheduled to be on the scene this morning to check the extent of damage to the Ironton-Russell Bridge.
The bridge was closed to all traffic at approximately 10:30 p.m. Saturday after a barge struck one of its piers.
Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation, confirmed that there were reports that the Ohio River span was struck and that it would be closed until it could be thoroughly inspected in daylight hours.
“It is too early (to speculate on exactly how long the bridge will be closed),” Fuller said. “We don’t know the extent other than a barge struck it. They will be checking all parts of the bridge.”
Right now traffic on both sides of the river is detoured to the twin bridges in Ashland, Ky.
The aging span was built in 1922. ODOT is in the process of building a new bridge that will begin near Second and Jefferson streets in Ironton and connect near Russell, Ky., at the viaduct on U.S. 23.
The bridge is projected to cost $81.2 million and should be completed by the fall of 2015.
By the time the bridge is complete, it will be constructed of more than 8.2 million pounds of steel and nearly 24,395 cubic yards of concrete.
It has been a long process to replace the span that has been closed periodically in inclement weather.
In 1999, a design process began to replace the bridge. When ODOT was ready to award a contract, bids came in more than $20 million over estimates. Plans for the new bridge were tabled, redesigns moved slowly and the project hit other snags tied to funding and the economy.
ODOT officially awarded an $81.2 million dollar contract to Brayman Construction, of Saxonburg, Pa., in January. Construction began in early March.