Funding OK#8217;d for bridge repairs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Plans to build a new bridge and plans to refurbish the existing one got attention Tuesday from state officials.

The state Controlling Board approved $1.56 million in funding to rehabilitate the Ironton-Russell Bridge. The repairs are meant to keep the bridge in good working condition until it is replaced with a new bridge seven or eight years from now.

The rehabilitation will include the replacement of the steel grid floor, retrofitting damaged bearings and connections, cleaning debris, repairing damaged railing and other miscellaneous repairs.

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Along with these repairs, the contractor will compile a list of critical locations on the bridge that must be monitored and inspected on a regular basis.

“We don’t know what the project will cost,” said Kathleen Fuller, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 9. “But that’s what we’re anticipating. We think it will sell next fall. We have a design firm right now working on designing the rehab project.”

Fuller said officials anticipate rehab construction will begin late next year.

Meanwhile, ODOT hosted an informational meeting Tuesday in Chillicothe for firms that are interested in designing the new Ironton-Russell Bridge.

“This gave them a chance to ask questions of us to take back to their companies,” Fuller said. “What we did was we went over a little of the history of the bridge and explained the process of value engineering and explained our scope of the project. They will now review our scope and project and see if they want to design the bridge.”

A design firm will be selected by the end of this year or early next year. Approximatrely 50 people attended the meeting but it is not known how many firms were represented at the meeting since companies typically sent more than one person to such meetings.