Residents applaud bridge upgrades

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lawrence County has been busy building bridges this summer and residents in the area are happy about it.

Three bridges are just off County Road 4 off Ohio 93 — newly completed Slab Fork Church and Cannon’s Creek bridges — and the Gum Stump Bridge that is under construction.

The bridge at Slab Fork Church is on John’s Creek Church Road.

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“That particular road is a township road,” said Lawrence County Engineer David Lynd. “We also did some concrete abutments on that.”

Construction started on Monday on the Gum Stump Bridge.

“We are so glad they’re getting that bridge,” said resident Donna Moore. “There’s so much traffic on that road. The old bridge made a lot of noise.”

The county was good about repairing the bridges, but it really needed a new one on Gum Stump, she said.

“We’re using steel beams on that bridge,” Lynd said. “It’s a longer span than we could make concrete beams for — we’re reusing some of the existing beams. We’re going to take them into the garage and clean them and paint them. By adding more beams, it will make a stronger bridge.”

The county is responsible for more than 200 larger bridges and about another 300 smaller structures.

Some of the smaller bridges date back to the WPA days in the 1920s and 1930s.

All the new bridges are designed to carry a legal load of 80,000 pounds.

“The county has really done good,” Moore said. “We are so thankful because we really needed that bridge.”

In the winter, county workers pour concrete beams pre-cast for the summer work on bridges.

“We’ve done this since the late ’80s,” Lynd said. “It keeps the bridge crew busy all winter. There’s no painting so there’s less maintenance on the bridge.”

The crew will be working on three more structures on County Road 58 called the branch of Lick Creek.

Several other bridges in the Sybene area are under the Ohio Department of Transportation management because they have been granted federal funds.

Another larger bridge is under contract on Porter Gap, County Road 21 and the crew began setting the beams on Wednesday.

It was built in 1960. The new bridge will be 24-feet wide with a 60-foot span. Two cars will be able to drive on the bridge.

“It was a narrow bridge before with a pretty wide curve,” Lynd said. “We’ve purchased galvanized steel beams so we don’t have to paint them and it will be able to carry a legal load again. The cost is $200,000. It will make a good strong bridge that will last for a long time in the future.”