Under-deck bridges being scrutinized

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Under-deck truss bridges like the one that collapsed in Minnesota are getting intense scrutiny following that tragedy, but Ironton’s lone under-deck span appears to be in good shape.

Ironton Engineering Technician Paul Sheets said the North Second Street overpass was inspected July 12 and showed no signs of instability.

“There is a little rusting in minor areas but it is still in good shape,” Sheets said. “It’s one of our better bridges, actually. All of our (city-maintained) bridges are in good structural condition.”

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The city has five spans under its jurisdiction: the overpass on North Second Street, The bridge on Third Street over Ice Creek, Fifth Street over Storms Creek, Woodland Cemetery Bridge and Second Street over Storms Creek.

Sheets said all of the bridges under city control rate a 5 or better on a scale of 1-10. The Ironton-Russell Bridge is not maintained by the city. It is owned and maintained by the Ohio Department of Transportation. It is not an under-deck truss bridge; it is an over-deck truss bridge.

On the state level, there are 12 under-deck truss spans getting attention from the Ohio Department on Transportation. They are in Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Warren, Lake, Summit, Fairfield and Washington counties.

Additionally, there are three bridges in Summit, Fairfield and Columbiana counties that are under-deck truss style bridges and are under the jurisdiction of county governments there.

ODOT District 9 spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller said state inspectors are in the process of probing their spans for defects.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that they found design flaws in the Minneapolis bridge’s gusset plates, which help tie the steel beams together.

ODOT says its inspectors examine the condition of the entire structure, including gusset plates, when inspecting steel truss bridges.