DEVELOPING: Ironton-Russell Bridge being monitored during cold snap

Published 9:28 am Thursday, January 8, 2015

CHILLICOTHE – Once again, the Ohio Department of Transportation must remind motorists and residents in the Lawrence County area of the potential for closure of the Ironton-Russell Bridge at Ironton.

Each winter, the staff of the ODOT Lawrence County Highway Maintenance Facility keeps a watchful eye on the weather in order to put crews on the state highway system and battle inclement conditions as it becomes needed. Likewise, they and staff from ODOT District 9’s Bridge Department also monitor the surface and air temperatures at the Ironton-Russell Bridge in order to secure motorists’ safety there.

While the Ironton-Russell Bridge is safe for travel, the bridge’s steel truss structure is not wholly guarded against temperatures sustained below zero degrees. This, in part, is due to its age, construction, current condition and certain fatigue-prone details in which cold weather may have an adverse effect on the bridge’s steel members.

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In the event of projected subzero temperatures, ODOT officials from both Lawrence County and the district headquarters in Chillicothe are prepared to take action. Throughout the winter season, ODOT staff monitor the weather for extreme cold and should the temperature at the bridge reach zero degrees and is predicted to continue falling, they will determine if it is necessary to close it to traffic. At a sustained temperature of minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit, the bridge will be subject to a full closure.

Should the bridge be closed, motorists will be detoured via U.S. Route 52 and the Ashland twin bridges at Coal Grove. For information on additional lane and road closures caused by construction, accidents, flooding or other traffic-related events throughout the state, visit ODOT on the Web at