I guess when you’re a railroad town by heritage you come to expect a certain amount of railroad issues but we’ve certainly had more than our fair share over the last 12 months. First the railroad let the Middlebury Road bridge fall into such disrepair that it had to be closed and it stayed closed until the railroad finally let us fix it for them. Then we had a train derailment that’s kept the Crain Avenue bridge reduced to one lane while all the repairs were being made. Now AT&T has had crews working on the Main Street bridge to replace the cables that a train struck and pulled down last summer. And let us not forget the replacement of the Crain Avenue bridge which should really get rolling next summer. When you were born as a rail town I guess these disruptions are par for the course.
If you drive down Main Street this month you’re likely to see construction trucks parked in the area where parking is provided on the Main Street bridge. I’ve been told that the repair work is not expected to actually reduce any travel lanes but it will definitely occupy the parking spots.
Here’s two short notes that were circulated internally about the project:
“The H. M. Miller Company will soon perform repairs to the AT & T cable hung on the north side of the West Main Street Bridge. The damage was caused last Summer when a train struck and pulled the cable. The repairs include removing all signs and railings, re-installing hand rails, support brackets and cable protection. During the four week project, contractors will need to use some of the parking spots on the bridge.”
“Contact was made with Mr. Sizemore, Foreman for H M Miller, completing the repairs to the AT&T cable hung on the north side of the W. Main Street Bridge. Mr. Sizemore advised that the work will take approximately 4-weeks and will complete as follows:
— All signs and railings need to be removed
—New wall angle brackets will be installed on the side of the north bridge parapet wall
—The existing phone cable (currently tied to the hand rail) will be lowered over onto the newly installed wall brackets
—Cable protection will be installed around the phone cable
—The handrail will be re-installed by welding a sleeve to the support stiles
If you didn’t know it, the Main Street bridge, just like the Crain Avenue bridge, is actually owned and maintained by Portage County. And the County Engineer has plans for repairs to that bridge scheduled in the next couple of years. I don’t know if any specific dates are set yet but there will need to be some work on this 100 year old bridge which is the oldest of its kind in Ohio fairly soon. Mr. Sizemore advised that a representative from ODOT was on site early this morning and advised that if the sign supports/brackets are not compatible with the wall brackets for the phone cable that they will redesign them for re-installation.”
Of course, the Middlebury Road bridge over the Cuyahoga River is currently closed while the County works on its repair. I’ve also heard that Portage County has repair work planned for the bridge on Lake Street just outside the Kent border in Franklin Township. Don’t quote me, but I think that bridge work will be underway next year.
Sometime this summer the Ohio Dept. of Transportation will be working on the bridges on SR 261 that go over Plum Creek. They’re still working on the logistics of that project but it will likely reduce SR 261 to single lanes during the repair process.
Most folks are aware that the City is busy working with ODOT to get the Crain/Fairchild Avenue Road bridge project into the construction bidding phase — which is also where we’re at for the Spaulding Avenue bridge repairs.
Where there’s tracks and rivers there’s bridges and it appears that a lot of them in our area happen to be reaching the end of their service life so as we reinvest in them we’ll have to deal with a little traffic inconvenience — but it’s for a good cause, bridge safety.