• 54°

Elkins Creek Bridge project nearly done

Motorists in Aid Township won't have too much longer to wait to use the new Elkins Creek Bridge.

Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller said the new bridge on County Road 8 should be open to traffic by the middle of next week.

"They're getting ready to put up guardrails and seed and mulch and you know when they tell you that, it's getting close," Fuller said. ODOT District 9 was the bridge project manager for the Lawrence County Engineer's Office.

Boone Coleman Construction of Portsmouth was awarded the $584,747.80 bid in spring 2004 but bouts of bad weather last summer and fall and problems removing the abutment of the old bridge pushed back the original completion date from December 2004 until now.

The new bridge was paid for entirely with federal highway administration monies, Lawrence County Engineer David Lynd said. It replaces an old bridge that had been built in the late 1920s or early 1930s and was no doubt past its prime: It had a load limit of 20 tons. The state's legal limit is 80 tons.

"The traffic volume isn't that high, but if you live there this has been an inconvenience," Lynd said. "It's inconvenient to drive around. The official detour was from the intersection (of County Road 8 and) State Route 141 up through Arabia, then on Aaron's Creek Road and then County Road 5, about 15 minutes extra."