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Inspection shows bridge decking didn’t drop

Last week’s special inspection of the Ironton-Russell Bridge prompted from a passerby’s report that the decking had dropped four to six inches is showing that the opposite actually happened, state officials are saying.

“The bridge inspector on Tuesday morning did the measurement that showed half an inch,” said Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for the District 9, Ohio Department of Transportation. “The logs at the past inspection last year showed five-eighths of an inch. Now that is a smaller elevation.”

On Monday night at approximately 7 p.m. the bridge was shut down for an hour with police from Ironton and Russell, Ky., blocking either end of the structure.

About an hour later, ODOT employees from the local garage who are familiar with the condition of the bridge, as well as contractors working on construction of the new bridge, inspected it and determined it was safe to reopen the bridge. The ODOT officials said the issue appeared to be tied to expansion joints near an abutment on the Ohio side, potentially tied to the rapid change in temperature, and has happened in the past, Fuller said at that time.

Tuesday’s bridge inspection showed there was no drop.

“Nothing dropped,” Fuller said. “It was already like that. Last year at this time it was five-eighth of an inch. Now it is less. It is closing itself in.”

For the next two weeks during the day, Richland Engineering will conduct the annual inspection of the structure.

“It should be maintenance, routine,” Fuller said.

The inspection will start on Monday.

“There will be no closures, just flagging,” Fuller said.

The bridge will not be closed during peak hours in the morning and afternoon.