Plan needed for old bridge

Published 9:55 am Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We live in a disposable age. Wear a pair of shoes for a while. Then toss them. Don’t think about getting them fixed. So when someone steps up to the plate to try to save something, that should be admired.

Elle Dew is someone who is passionate about saving the 1922 Ironton-Russell Bridge, which will soon be replaced by a new model. The community is fortunate to have a new bridge under construction. The current one is antiquated and needs modernization.

Dew doesn’t argue that a new bridge is needed. She just doesn’t want to see the old one torn down, and that is the plan by the Ohio Department of Transportation. In fact, in about a year after the new bridge opens, ODOT plans to bring down the old one.

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However, Dew thinks the old bridge could have a new life — as a pedestrian bridge.

She says it is the only one remaining of its architectural style and must be preserved.

In fact, she recently got Preservation Ohio on board, as the statewide organization put the bridge on its 2016 list of the state’s most endangered historic sites.

Again, an admirable position. But saving something just because it is old or unique has to be weighed against the practicality of the matter of maintaining the structure. ODOT says it won’t and the city of Ironton says it can’t. Then there is the cost of liability insurance that is definitely a must. So, until a fiscally responsible plan can be devised, the bridge has got to go.