By Wayne Allen
Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman said Tuesday that the Righter Company has begun mobilizing equipment to the Otway Covered Bridge in anticipation of starting the rehabilitation project. In November, the Scioto County Commissioners approved a contract with the Righter Company, of Columbus, for $421,900, for the repair and rehabilitation of the bridge.
“Yesterday (Monday) they (the Righter Company) mobilized equipment on to the site in preparation of starting,” Opperman said. “They waiting on some materials to arrive, once the materials arrive Wednesday or today (Tuesday).”
He said the Righter Company hopes to start driving piles into the ground on Thursday or Friday, weather depending.
“Once they can drive the piles in, then they can start working on shoring the structure for its replacement,” Opperman said.
He said the project is expected to be complete in September.
“They still have plenty of time to work. I think the end of September is when the completion date is right now,” Opperman said.
People can still view the structure while the project is ongoing, but Opperman advises, “keep your distance. It is a construction zone and the contractor is in control of the site. People should stay far enough away to not interfere with operations and for their own safety.”
According to The Otway Historical Society, the Otway Covered Bridge has been a historical landmark that has attracted people to our county, and to the Otway area, for many years. However, the bridge has fallen into a state of serious disrepair. In March of 2012, a portion of the bridge roof was damaged by an F-0 strength tornado that went through Otway and also damaged the fire department. Otway Mayor Suzanne Nichols said the damages to the bridge were estimated at $1,800, and Belfor Restoration, of Columbus, was awarded a contract to replace the damaged part of the covered bridge roof.
Opperman said the bridge currently has a bow in it, and needs attention in order to preserve it.
“We are trying to do this as quickly as we can in trying to address this situation,” Opperman said.
According to the Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail, the bridge is located southwest of the junction of state routes 73 and 348. The bridge was erected in 1874 and was in use until it was bypassed in 1963. This historic structure is listed on the National Registry and was completely restored by the village of Otway in 1974. What makes the Otway Bridge so unique is that, of the 80 or so covered bridges that were built in the history of Scioto County, it is the lone survivor.
For more information, visit the Otway Historical Society and Covered Bridge on Facebook.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT