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Ironton-Russell Bridge briefly closed

Oct. 31, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- The 90-year-old Ironton-Russell Bridge was closed for more than an hour Monday night, but was reopened after an inspection and was determined to be safe for traffic after a second inspection Tuesday, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Russell and Ironton police closed the bridge about 7 p.m. Monday after receiving a report that a section of the bridge decking had dropped some six inches, said Kathleen Fuller, a spokeswoman for the department's District 9 office. The two-lane span is scheduled to be torn down after a new, $81.2 million bridge is opened in several years.

"The bridge inspectors found there was no drop in the structure," Fuller said. Inspectors found a slight difference in the elevation, about three-fourths of an inch on the Ohio side, she said. However, electronic monitors on the bridge indicated nothing out of the ordinary, she said.

"After an hour, the bridge was reopened," Fuller said. A bridge inspector Tuesday confirmed there was a half-inch of difference in elevation on the Ohio side, but that didn't pose a problem, she said. "The bridge is open at this point," Fuller said. "We feel everything is fine."

"I was starting to get calls from residents when the bridge was reopened last night," said Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship. "I didn't hear from ODOT. They'll notify us if the bridge is going to be closed for any length of time. We have to trust ODOT and let them do their job."

The bridge is subject to closure when temperatures reach zero degrees, Fuller said.

About 11,000 vehicles cross the bridge per day.