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Bridge to honor late Ohio senator

May. 10, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- The Ohio House has passed a bill naming the $81.3 million Ironton-Russell Bridge for the late Ohio Sen. Oakley Collins, according to a news release from the office of State Rep. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott.

A contingent of Lawrence County residents including Collins' son, Ironton Municipal Judge O. Clark Collins, Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles "Chuck" Cooper and Bill Dingus, executive director of the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce, also went to Columbus to support the bill.

"Oakley Collins was a charismatic individual who came from humble beginnings and earned votes the old-fashioned way -- by representing his district well and forming strong, positive, personal relationships," Johnson said in a prepared release. "He was a dedicated public servant and excelled at seemingly every interest he pursued."

Collins served in the state Legislature for 37 years. He served as the chair and the ranking member of the Senate Education Committee for decades, according to a news release. While in the Legislature, he advocated for legislation that created Ohio's vocational school system and for legislation that implemented the state's use of fluoridated tap water.

The bill passed the Ohio House by a vote of 93-0 and will be forwarded to the Ohio Senate.

The bridge is 25 percent complete as of Thursday. It is scheduled to be finished by the fall of 2015.

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