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Ironton-Russell Bridge to close tonight at 10 p.m.

Due to the extreme cold, crews from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Lawrence County maintenance facility will close the Ironton-Russell Bridge tonight.

Current forecasting models indicate that the overnight low temperature at the bridge will be at or nearly -6 degrees below zero, with a wind chill of approximately -20 degrees. Therefore, crews will be dispatched at 10 p.m. to set barricades and establish the detour, enacting a full closure of the structure by 11 p.m.

Although the bridge linking Ironton to Russell is safe for travel, its steel truss structure is not wholly guarded against temperatures sustained below zero should it incur damage from any severe or unusual external force. During cold-weather months, ODOT officials monitor the weather closely, and in the event of projected sub-zero temperatures, the bridge is closed as a precautionary measure to ensure motorists’ safety and the structural integrity of the bridge.

Once the temperature is sustained above 5 degrees Fahrenheit, ODOT inspectors will conduct a field inspection to determine if any changes have been critical to the bridge’s load-carrying capacity. In addition, they will review the information from strain gages that are affixed to the bridge to determine if the bridge has incurred any additional stress and ascertain if any course of action is deemed necessary before reopening the bridge to travel.

While the bridge is closed, motorists will be detoured via U.S. Route 52 and the Ashland, Kentucky, bridge at Coal Grove.

For information on additional lane and road closures caused by construction, accidents, flooding or other related traffic events throughout the state, visit ODOT on the web at www.Ohgo.com