Bridge plans are welcome news

Published 10:38 pm Saturday, August 29, 2009

If the old cliché that “good things come to those who wait” is accurate, it may be doubly true when it comes to the Ironton-Russell Bridge.

In fact it might be more accurate to say, “those who wait and wait and wait.”

The replacement of the aging structure is long overdue and has been delayed for several years. But the Ohio Department of Transportation has finally released a completely redesigned structure and a timeline.

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Ohio and Kentucky residents alike should feel encouraged that this project may finally become a reality by 2015.

But the burden is still on state leaders and ODOT to ensure that this vital infrastructure improvement doesn’t get put on the back burner again.

One positive change that should help is the alteration of the design to a two-tier, cable stayed bridge instead of the Taj Mahal record-setting design proposed in the past.

Still, some questions remain regarding the design process and hopefully ODOT can answer these at an upcoming public forum set for Thursday, Sept. 10 from 4-7 p.m. at the ODOT garage facility on Commerce Drive just off of South Third Street.

Why was the decision made to go to two-lanes rather than four? Has there been any analysis to determine if this will meet the region’s needs 50 or 60 years from now if we experience economic growth? What role did design firm URS Corp. Play in the collapse of Interstate 35W Bridge in Minnesota, a project for which it is now being sued? What assurances are there that this won’t happen again?

Cost will remain a key issue, likely only increasing each year.

We also challenge state and local officials to get the state of Kentucky to contribute to this project. Easy commerce between states will benefit the Commonwealth as well.

Ironton area residents don’t mind to wait a little longer as long as those promised “good things” do eventually come.