FHWA Issues ROD For Ironton-Russell Bridge

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 10, 2003

From staff reports

Although construction is still a few years away, residents of Lawrence County and motorists between Ironton and Russell, Ky., are one significant step closer toward having a new bridge across the Ohio River.

According to Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 Deputy Director John F. Hagen, the Federal Highway Administration has issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the proposed project to construct a new bridge that will touch down in the two communities, near the intersection of Second and Jefferson streets in Ironton and near the intersection of Kentucky Route 244 (Bellefonte Street) and U.S. Route 23 in Russell.

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"It is the Federal Highway Administration's conclusion that this project complies with all provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, which means we have full environmental clearance," Hagen said. "With the Record of Decision, we are now able to move forward with our consultants to begin the design and right of way process."

ODOT officials met yesterday with the consultants who have been contracted to design the new bridge. During the meeting, designers and engineers from Baker and Associates outlined their plan for the first phase of the process that will include roadway assessment, field surveys, subsurface investigations and preliminary right of way.

"The consultants are working on a fast track to complete the bridge design and keep this project moving as quickly as possible," Hagen said. "With an ambitious schedule, we could have preliminary design and right of way plans by the end of the year."

Although no timetable for construction has been set, department officials are hopeful that construction could begin by early 2005, following the design and right of way process. The current estimated cost of the proposed Ironton-Russell Bridge replacement project is $55 million, of which ODOT has already earmarked $35 million.