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IBA bridge option to be discussed

Ironton Business Association officers will take membership opinion about three Ironton-Russell Bridge route alternatives to state transportation leaders and a city council committee in the coming days.

Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Ironton Business Association officers will take membership opinion about three Ironton-Russell Bridge route alternatives to state transportation leaders and a city council committee in the coming days.

"When they put the third alternative out there, they wanted our views," said Mike Haas, the IBA’s bridge committee chair.

At Thursday’s membership meeting, those views favored route B-2 – the one also favored in the past, Haas said.

Polls showed 81 percent of IBA members approved of B-2; 19 percent approved of B/C-1; and no member supported B/C-1a, the newest ODOT choice.

In detail:

– B-2 links Russell, Ky., to Ironton, with a bridge ramp entering South Second Street from Vernon to Adams streets. It closely maintains current traffic flow connecting the downtowns and discourages truck traffic.

– B/C-1 also enters Ironton on South Second Street but from Monroe to Adams streets. Traffic flow includes a potential state-funded upgrade of Park Avenue, creating a designated Ohio 93 through Ironton and connecting with U.S. 23.

– B/C-1a enters on Second Street from Chestnut to Monroe streets. Traffic pattern is similar to B/C-1.

When ODOT proposed B/C-1a, the IBA was contacted for an opinion but held off until the membership was asked, president Betty Adkins said.

"We think we got a good mix of people to vote and the majority supported B-2," she said. "We will send the information back to ODOT."

Ironton City Council’s Public Utilities Committee will also take up the issue next week, in a meeting set for 5 p.m. Monday at the conference room in the city center.

"We were asked by the IBA to review the resolution the city currently has in place," committee chair and councilman Jesse Roberts said. "They feel like it should be more specific."

The city resolution favors a "revised B-2," where the plan would be to use the existing bridge ramps. The committee meeting is open to the public.

After more than a year of public meetings, ODOT narrowed about six bridge route choices to only B/C-1 and B-2 last year. It added B/C-1a last month because of concerns the state had with historical structures.

In the past, there has been strong support for either B-2 or B/C-1 in Ironton. But, in Russell the businesses want the bridge touchdown where it is now, while residents want it on U.S. 23, the state says.

ODOT says the bridge must be replaced because it is no longer economically feasible to continue upkeep on the aging structure. There is more refinement to be done, whichever of the three alternatives is chosen, ODOT officials have said.

Of the three, B2 is cheapest at $66 million. B/C-1 will cost $74 million. And B/C-1a, the newest, will cost $71 million. The decision is still in the study and investigation stage, officials said.

ODOT said they also expect to seek more public input, but nothing has been scheduled yet.

"I’m sure they will seek more public opinion in the spring," Haas said, adding that the most recent alternative had only been brought to the IBA and city officials for initial input.