Four sub-par Portage County bridges are in line for replacement, according to Mike Collins, project engineer for the county engineer’s office.
Work on the Stanley Road bridge over Mahoning Creek in Windham Township is expected to begin in early 2024 and be completed by October 2024. The bridge is open to traffic now but is under weight restrictions.
Work on the Jones bridge over Kale Creek in Palmyra Township is expected to start in early spring 2024 and be complete by the end of May 2024. The bridge is open to one-lane traffic now but will be closed in March 2024.
Work on the Silica Sand bridge over Eagle Creek in Nelson Township is expected to start in mid-August and be complete in October. The bridge is open to one-lane traffic now but will be closed when construction starts.
Work on the Randolph Road bridge over Potter Creek in Randolph Township is expected to start in May 2024 and be complete by September 2024. The bridge is open now but is under weight restrictions.
Also on the county engineer’s radar is the Ravenna Road bridge, which has been out for years. Portage County engineer Larry Jenkins expects to seek bids for replacing that structure by the end of the year and is already working with Norfolk Southern Railroad to acquire necessary right of ways and temporary work agreements. Work should begin sometime next year and be complete by 2025, he said.
Once the bridge is replaced, Ravenna Road will once again become a popular route for motorists making the trek from Lake Street to points north, including to Towner’s Woods.
Once the new bridges are in place, they all will be able to handle legal loads, Collins said.
The county engineer’s office is responsible for 372 miles of county roads and 174 county-owned bridges.
Each year, the county engineer works with a professional bridge inspection firm (for the past couple years it’s been John Wackerly Inspection) to examine every bridge, though county bridge engineer Bill Vermes reserves a handful for his own eyes. “Just to get to know the bridge,” he said.
Also, Wackerly doesn’t climb underneath bridges, so Vermes assesses those bridges as well. He’s looking for general deterioration, at railings and decks, and at the super and substructures, he said.
Vermes expects this year’s inspections to begin in August and be complete by September, with follow-ups at West Branch in December when the water is low.