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TAKE A LOOK: Is this local bridge safe? State engineers say yes

Published: Thursday, October 26, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, October 27, 2017 @ 3:42 PM
By: Jeremy P. Kelley, Lynn Hulsey - Staff Writer

The damaged on-ramp bridge from northbound Smithville Road to U.S. 35 westbound will remain open and unrepaired until 2019 when that bridge is removed as part of a full-interchange rebuild, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The ramp, which loops over U.S. 35, was damaged in November 2016 when a flatbed truck carrying a huge heating and cooling unit struck the underside of the bridge. ODOT spokeswoman Mandi Dillon said the impact caused significant damage to the edge of the bridge, and portions of concrete were removed for safety reasons.

The state received $86,204.61, which was full payment on its claim from the truck company’s insurance for the damage, said Matt Bruning, ODOT spokesman. 

ORIGINAL STORY: Ramp closes after truck hits bridge

Bruning said it is typical for the state to seek repayment from at-fault drivers or their insurers for damage caused to infrastructure in crashes.

The on-ramp has remained open since then, but appears to have a large bite out of the concrete where the bridge goes over the highway, with the side wall of the bridge removed. Concrete barriers have been placed on the ramp to prevent cars from getting too close to the damaged area.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials said the ramp is safe in its current condition.

“What you’re seeing is more exterior (issues),” Dillon said Wednesday. “We have had that bridge inspected. It is safe. What you’re seeing is not anything that’s weight-bearing or going to cause a safety issue.”

“I know it sometimes looks different, but it is safe.”

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Dillon said ODOT keeps an eye on the bridge to make sure concrete around the impact area doesn’t crumble onto the highway.

“It would have required structural repair in that section that’s been blocked off, and they’re going to be (removing) it in 2019,” Dillon said. “It just made more sense with taxpayer dollars to wait rather than put all this money into it and then replace the interchange in a year.”

A description of the 2019 project says the looping “flyover” ramp that was damaged will be completely removed and not replaced.

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Instead, northbound traffic on Smithville to westbound U.S. 35 will stay straight on Smithville, going over U.S. 35, then turn left onto a new entrance ramp to westbound 35. That ramp will join the current ramp from southbound Smithville to westbound 35.