Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Ironton-Russell bridge

The Ohio River bridge connecting Ironton, Ohio, and Russell, Ky., celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. This month, people in the two cities are celebrating -- I suppose -- the fact that a contract has been awarded to build a new bridge.

Here's another article that sums up the problems Ohio has had in finding someone to build the new bridge within its budget estimates. In short, the Ohio Department of Transportation wanted to replace the old steel truss cantilever design with a single-tower cable stay bridge. But the bids for that design came in waaaay over estimate, so ODOT had a two-tower bridge designed. The low bid for this one came in over estimate, but within the 10 percent leeway ODOT can live with.

A single tower would have been taller and would have dominated the landscape, like the ones at Huntington WV and Steubenville OH. The towers on the two-tower bridge will be shorter.

Back in the early 1990s, when the old steel truss bridge at Huntington was being replaced, the West Virginia Division of Highways bid out both a steel truss bridge and a cable stay bridge. The truss bridge came in significantly lower price than the cable stay bridge, so it was built. A cable stay design would have been nicer, but the bridge as built has a nice sidewalk that offers a great view of the river and the city. And the sidewalk is used by a lot of people.

If you want more information, check out this site. Be sure to go to the bottom to see the comments from people who would like to see the old bridge saved for pedestrian use and historical value and from those who think it best that it come down.

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