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Ironton-Russell Bridge retrofit project begins

Barricades went up Tuesday, blocking traffic to the Ironton-Russell Bridge to mark the beginning of the state’s 30-day retrofit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Barricades went up Tuesday, blocking traffic to the Ironton-Russell Bridge to mark the beginning of the state’s 30-day retrofit.

But, area residents will find a reprieve from the closure during the next two days.

Just for today and Thursday, contractors will leave the bridge open, although there’s still a possibility of lane restrictions, said Kathleen Fuller, spokesperson in the Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 9 office.

"They’re at the point on the project where they don’t have to use the crane right away," Mrs. Fuller said.

The full daytime closure schedule that is planned for the project is set to resume on Friday, Oct. 12, at 8:30 a.m., she said.

For up to 30 days throughout the project, the bridge will be subject to daytime closures, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. while crews work.

Currently, the bridge is scheduled to be open to evening, overnight and weekend travel; however, the need for weekend closures will be subject to change depending upon certain variables, such as weather and equipment scheduling, Mrs. Fuller said.

The scheduled completion date for the entire retrofit project is Thursday, Nov. 15.

Residents moving to and from work, businesses that rely on out-of-town traffic, and Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Russell, Ky., will likely share the most impact from closing the bridge.

"We realize this is an inconvenience, but we realize it’s a necessary project, too, for safety’s sake," Mrs. Fuller said.

Crews are strengthening joints that have weak "pins" by attaching metal connectors between them, and that work must be done during daylight, she said.

The last few years of inspections show stressed or cracked pins, and although they can’t tell exactly how much stress they’re in, reinforcement is needed, Mrs. Fuller said.

"They must work at the highest points of trusses and they need to use cranes," she explained. "And, there’s no way to maneuver traffic around, so we had to close the bridge.

"There’s no danger of collapse but we want to take precautions to ensure it’s safe and can continue to carry the weight load it’s carrying now."

Work began Tuesday, with Tri-State Steel Construction Inc. of Strongsville using cranes. The company was awarded the $399,550 contract for the construction work in September.