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New Ironton-Russell Bridge moving ahead

I was recently asked to update the citizens of Ironton on the status of the new construction of the Ironton-Russell Bridge.

As you may recall the new bridge was scheduled to be built in 2007. That project date was pushed back to 2013 due to state funding issues.

When I became mayor in December of 2007, I made it a priority to do what I could and meet with the Ohio Department of Transportation officials and other elected officials in efforts to get this project moved up in a timely manner.

During my first 60 days of taking office I met with Gov. Ted Strickland and officials from the Ohio Department of Transportation in Columbus. Two major components were accomplished as a result of this meeting. First, The Ohio Department of Transportation prohibited commercial vehicles from crossing the bridge as well as vehicles measuring over seven feet and six inches. Second, and most important, was that the new construction of the bridge was moved up from 2013 to September 2011, (bid opening).

Over the past several months I have met with employees of ODOT, on site, to discuss various issues such as water and sewer lines that may have to be re-located due to the construction of the new bridge.

Upon my request, employees from ODOT came to Ironton and attended a city council meeting in September of 2009 to give a presentation on the new construction and publicly stated that the bid opening would be in September of 2011 as well as showing renditions of the proposed new bridge.

It is my intention to continue to work closely with officials from ODOT to ensure that this project, that is so vitally important to our community remain on schedule as stated and come to fruition.

I feel that it is important to meet with our Ohio state elected officials on a regular basis in efforts to improve our relationship, identify our needs and obtain the benefits that the citizens of Ironton deserve.

Rich Blankenship is the mayor of Ironton, Lawrence County’s seat of government.