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Bridges hit hard by sudden flooding

If the deluge that hit the Tri-State looked bad early Tuesday evening, it didn’t get any better at 1 a.m. the next morning when County Engineer Doug Cade was out assessing the damage in Lawrence County.

“There was not really much we could do and we had more rain coming so we packed it in and dealt with it (Wednesday) morning,” Cade said.

What Cade and the crews from the engineer’s office found were at least 13 timber bridges needed closed and a two-page list of earlier landslides that had gotten worse.

“Four of those bridges are completely gone,” the engineer said.

They are on Township Road 228, Township Road 140, Township Road 160 and Township Road 274. All have at least one to two families who use them for access from their homes and there are some with multiple families.

“Right now what we are trying to do is put in temporary culverts so they can get out of those areas, having let the water get down,” he said. “We started first thing. We were out last night during the event but with the water you can’t begin work. We waited until the first light. And we have several locations where trees are down. We are trying to get the roads up first and work on those bridges and get those open. Our next priority is to put in temporary culverts.”

At the bridges that weren’t washed away crews are putting in stones at the access points and compacting it.

One long-running road problem was not affected as much as it has been in the past by severe weather — the hillside slippage along Rockwood Avenue in Chesapeake.

“Rockwood flooded a little bit and moved the hill down a little bit,” Chesapeake Mayor Dick Gilpin said. “We will have to have ODOT (clean it up). But it didn’t block traffic. We didn’t get hit as hard as South Point.”

Cade expected to have at least six bridges ready for traffic by the end of Wednesday.

“The central part of the county was most affected — Perry, Fayette, Upper, Elizabeth and Lawrence and part of Aid,” Cade said. “Every township was affected but that central part has the most damage. We will work as long as we can.”