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Ironton-Russell Bridge to be fixed

CHILLICOTHE — A Newark firm is the apparent low bidder for the Ironton-Russell Bridge rehabilitation project.

Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 officials opened bids Friday. Armstrong Steel Erectors submitted a bid of approximately $1.3 million. This was the only bid submitted.

“We anticipate the contract to be awarded within the next two weeks, following a full review by ODOT’s Office of Contracts,” James A. Brushart, district 9 deputy director said.

The rehab will include repairs to bridge deck and grid panels, specific fatigue areas, one bearing, various seals and improvement of skid resistance.

Officials said a start date will be announced once the contract is officially awarded.

Traffic will be maintained in at least one lane with the aid of flaggers for much of the time. However, ODOT officials said there will be times when the bridge is closed altogether to allow repairs to be made. A complete schedule of closures will be addressed at a pre-construction meeting.

The rehabilitation is meant to extend the bridge’s useful life until it is replaced, but when that will happen is anybody’s guess. When state officials announced their 2008-2009 business plan last week, admitted they have no money to replace the aging span and it is not likely to be funded for another six years. Originally, the project was let in 2006, but bids exceeded the state’s cost estimate. The project was then sent to a process called value engineering, where the design was revamped in an effort to whittle down costs.

Since then, local officials have repeatedly lobbied state officials to make the bridge replacement a greater priority.