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Commission asks city for bridge restrictions

The recent collapse of the bridge in Minnesota has spurred concern about the stability of the Ironton-Russell Bridge.

Thursday, the Lawrence County Commission agreed to send a letter to the Ironton City Council, asking the city leaders to consider load restrictions on the old bridge to extend its life as much as possible until a new bridge is built or the existing one is rehabilitated.

“It wasn’t built for heavy trucks,” Lawrence County Commissioner Doug Malone pointed out.

The bridge was built with local monies in the early 1920s. The Ohio Department of Transportation announced in January 2006 that plans to replace the bridge were being “shelved” because bids came in approximately 28 percent over budget. ODOT officials have scheduled a rehabilitation of the old span but even that project is not scheduled to be advertised for bid until next month.

“I think we need to push the envelope a bit more to secure funding for the new bridge,” Malone said.

Also Thursday, commissioners approved the language in the one-mil senior citizens levy that will be on the November ballot. The money would raise an estimated $600,000 to fund transportation and other services for senior citizens that do not qualify for federal assistance.

Visitors to the Lawrence County Courthouse will find the snack bar open to customers again this week. Commissioners approved a contract Candy Guy to operate the second-floor eatery.