Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:18PM - 237 Views
Associated Press/PDT Staff

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Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

Bridge engineers and inspectors from the Ohio Department Of Transportation (ODOT) District 9 were in Ironton Monday morning inspecting the Ironton-Russell bridge, after being struck by a barge Saturday night. By mid-afternoon Monday, the engineers and inspectors determined the bridge received no significant damage and the structure has been cleared for traffic.

The bridge had been closed since the incident to allow for crews to inspect the bridge.

Matthew Merical, Public Affairs officer of the United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit of Huntington, W.V. said the incident appears to have been related to weather.

“As of right now, it appears it (the incident) was related to the weather, there were high winds that were blowing across the river,” Merical said.

He said the Ohio side of the bridge was struck. Once the incident occurred the coast guard sent someone to inspect the barge itself for damage.

Merical said no charges are pending but, the incident remains under investigation.

ODOT, District 9 spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller said if the bridge received significant damage, ODOT may have closed it permanently while its replacement is being constructed.

“We’ve always said, that if the bridge gets beyond the point of repair, we will close it permanently to traffic while we are building the other bridge,” Fuller said.

Last year ODOT awarded an $81.3 million contract to Brayman Construction Corporation of Saxonburg, Penn. to construct a replacement bridge for the Ironton-Russell.

According to ODOT, the project calls for replacing the existing bridge that connects Ironton, Ohio, with Russell, Ky., by relocating it between Second and Jefferson Streets in downtown Ironton and the U.S. 23 viaduct south of Russell. The project also includes demolition of the existing or old bridge upon completion of the new structure.

Fuller said progress on the new bridge is going well and crews will be working through the winter.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or wallen@heartlandpublications.com.

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