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ODOT plans bridge retrofit for August

Some problems with the Ironton-Russell Bridge will soon be addressed, but motorist will have to find a new way across the river during some of the construction.

Sunday, July 29, 2001

Some problems with the Ironton-Russell Bridge will soon be addressed, but motorist will have to find a new way across the river during some of the construction.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials announced at Thursday’s Ironton City Council meeting that bids may be awarded as early as August to retrofit some of the bridge’s pins. During one phase of the retrofit, traffic will be closed for 30 days from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The entire project will last 90 days, ODOT officials said, citing a plan to be finished with the project before the Thanksgiving holiday rolls around.

The pins were studied earlier this year by BRW, Inc. of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati Infrastructure Institute (UCII). During that study, ultrasound tests "revealed cracks or defects in some of the pins" on the bridge. The testing also showed, 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.

ODOT officials explained the retrofit project will add reinforcement supports along the bridge’s joints and provide relief to the distressed pins.

"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 in a previous interview conducted in May. 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."

The retrofit, according to ODOT, will keep the bridge in check for about 5 years.

The retrofitting will cost ODOT about $450,000.