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ODOT: Think safety near Portsmouth bridge

CHILLICOTHE – Once again, the Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 wants to remind the public that all forms of access to the U.

Monday, August 20, 2001

CHILLICOTHE – Once again, the Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 wants to remind the public that all forms of access to the U.S. Grant Bridge in Portsmouth is prohibited.

Crews have been dismantling the bridge deck and are readying the structure for explosive demolition, the first step in its eventual replacement.

"This is strictly a matter of public safety," said District 9 Deputy Director John F. Hagen. "We understand the natural curiosity of onlookers, but the structure is no longer safe. Therefore, we ask that the public pay attention to the signs and barricades which prohibit access to the bridge.

Boaters are also being warned to pay attention to the construction site while traveling on the river below the dismantled bridge.

Thus, in addition to pedestrian safety, the department and the contractors are advising the public about the need for waterway safety too. They remind all boaters to exercise extreme caution when traveling on the Ohio River near the work zone, and they ask that recreational boaters not attempt to cross under what remains of the structure while demolition is under way during regular working hours.

With the exception of authorized personnel from either ODOT or the contractor, C.J. Mahan, no one is permitted beyond any land barricades that have been established for the construction work zone.