ADENA – Last week two different colored signs went up in front of the Adena bridge thereby closing it permanently much sooner than expected. District 11 Construction Engineer, Todd Moore stated that the reason the bridge was closed earlier than the Nov. 15 date on the sign that has been up was because of a poor review when it “showed some deterioration of structure.”
An inspection by Richland Engineering of Mansfield deemed the bridge unsuitable for traffic, which triggered the action by officials. The bridge was originally scheduled for demolition next June after the completion of the school year. Officials involved expressed frustration in failed attempts to construct a temporary bridge but environmental issues were to blame along with the park that sits adjacent to the bridge, which also became an issue.
Several officials in Adena recently expressed their frustration stating there wasn’t anything they could do about it as they were not notified of what was happening as the situation unfolded rather quickly.
Jefferson County Engineer, Jim Branagan set the chain of events in motion when he had his own engineer take a look at the bridge, which led to the Mansfield company taking a final look where they eventually shut it down.
Moore said that preliminary work would begin this week to get the bridge opened as soon as possible, which he gave a timeline of approximately April of next year. An orange sign in front of the bridge informed the public that it would be closed on Nov. 15 (it closed days earlier) for 75 days, though, some in the area are skeptical that it can be done that quickly (a phone number was listed for anyone with questions to call: 330-339-6633).
With preliminary work now being done to prepare the bridge for demolition there seemed to be some confusion as to when the bridge could actually be taken down. Branagan felt there was a 12-day notice the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needed to be given before actual demolition thereby, pushing that back to Dec. 1st.
After some additional checking he wasn’t far off as an EPA spokesperson stated that a demolition notice was filed on Nov. 15th with a required 10-day notice with a scheduled demolition (by Ohio Bridge Corp. (OBC)) for Nov. 29th. And since the inspection has already taken place the EPA spokesperson said everything was “good to go” on their end.
Chairman of OBC, Dick Rogovin confirmed that permits had been filed through the EPA, which then sends the plans through ODOT for final review. He also talked of the environmental issues that nixed the temporary bridge solution calling it unfortunate.
“It’s too bad for the kids to have to wait that long,” he said regarding the school and the delay in detouring that will now take place.
Factored into that timeline of completion Moore said was that work such as this can be more difficult in winter months than summer. He also confirmed that some form of a temporary footpath or bridge for vehicular traffic was not going to happen.
“Unfortunately that’s not possible,” Moore said citing “environmental restrictions” being the cause and noted that the Adena park, which he said is categorized as 4F would take longer to obtain the necessary permissions.
When asked about wetland concerns he said the 4F park rating makes it more difficult than any wetland concerns.
Adena Fire Chief, Jim Horton called it an 18-mile detour that would take approximately one-half hour to get around, which is concerning for EMS workers. He explained that a paid EMS crew would man the south side for 12 hours and Smithfield would be ready 24 hours a day with ODOT footing the bill, according to Horton. He added that an additional voluntary crew would be on call for a 12-hour night shift.
Horton said that a helicopter service in Wintersville could be used in dire emergencies as well. He said in case of a fire that would be a different story but has Smithfield, Cadiz and Hopedale to rely on.