Bridge test results submitted to ODOT

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 27, 2001

The test results on the Ironton-Russell, Ky.

Sunday, May 27, 2001

The test results on the Ironton-Russell, Ky., bridge are in and some defects have been found.

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According to a press release sent Friday by the Ohio Department of Transportation, testing conducted by BRW Inc. of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati Infrastructure Institute (UCII) have "revealed cracks or defects in some of the pins" on the bridge. The test results did show, however, the "distressed pins are within the acceptable range for current weight limits to carry traffic across the present structure safely."

Mike Zwick of BRW said the problems the engineers found were "relatively minor" although some of the pins tested would require repair or replacement.

The tests conducted on the bridge were done using ultrasound, allowing the engineers a better look at how the pins are functioning. Greg Baird, the bridge and traffic studies engineer for ODOT-District 9, said, "by using sound waves, the ultrasonic test enabled engineers to ‘see’ what’s occurring inside the pins where it would be inaccessible to bridge inspectors."

Engineers from ODOT, BRW and UCII have recommended additional testing to further analyze the bridge’s pins and provide more details about the pin’s condition. The engineers also agreed to continue the plans to retrofit the bridge this year.

The retrofit project has been designed so the existing structure can remain open while ODOT, Ironton and Russell hash out a plan for the proposed bridge.

"We realize the importance of this bridge to both Ironton and Russell, and we want to ensure its safety to the traveling public," said District 9 Deputy Director John F. Hagen. He added, "Our goal is to keep the current structure open while we continue to pursue our plans to build a new bridge. The retrofit project will allow us to do this while addressing the known deficiencies of the bridge."

ODOT officials explained the retrofit project will add reinforcement supports along the bridge’s joints and provide relief to the distressed pins. ODOT officials said they plan to bid out the project this summer so the retrofit can be completed this year.

ODOT plans on keeping the bridge open during additional testing and during the retrofit, but will reduce traffic to one lane during workday hours.