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IBA calls public meeting on city bridge

Fueled by concerns about the state’s planned replacement of the Ironton-Russell, Ky.

Monday, September 06, 1999

Fueled by concerns about the state’s planned replacement of the Ironton-Russell, Ky., bridge, members want to meet with the public, IBA co-president Lou Pyles said.

The Ohio Department of Transportation last week unveiled four locations for a new bridge, but none protect downtown business trade or the interests of city residents, Mrs. Pyles said.

"What downtown businesses are concerned with is we’d like to try to keep our bridge or build a new one beside it and leave the existing one," she said. "We want to invite the public in to see if they understand what’s going on and get their support."

The IBA meeting will be 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Ironton City Center.

The Ironton-Russell bridge exists for commerce, yet the state’s option to close the existing bridge to build another in the same place will stop trade for two years, Mrs. Pyles said.

If a new one is built in other option locations, like near Mastin Avenue or Mulberry Street, traffic essentially will bypass the downtown business district, she said.

"People downtown say, ‘Does everybody really want this?’" she said. "They know our town will just dry up and they’re afraid of this."

IBA members want the organization to take a stand at the meeting, and form a strategy to convince the state that leaving the current bridge intact should be part of the options, Mrs. Pyles said.

"It will be a big job and we don’t have that many days to do it," she said. "We only have until Sept. 10 to get letters and comments in to ODOT.

"This bridge is a benefit to both towns. They’re sister towns because of it. We want Corridor B with modifications and Russell businesses agree. We want to see if people will come out and support our bridge."

A toll-free project comments hotline also has been established at 1-877-47BRIDGE.