Alarming discovery closes bridge in Streetsboro

STREETSBORO, Ohio-- The Ohio Department of Transportation along with the City of Streetsboro made a quick decision late Monday to close a 31-year-old bridge on State Route 14 after an alarming discovery underneath the span.

ODOT spokesman Justin Chesnic said contractors working nearby noticed a sag in the bridge and discovered that the pillars that hold up the bridge were corroded and buckled.

On Tuesday, inspectors determined that the bridge was so dangerous it could not be repaired and would have to be replaced.

ODOT said the bridge was inspected in April and graded at a 7 on a scale of 1-to-9, with a new bridge being a 9.

The pilings under the bridge appear to have been so corroded that they not only buckled,  several appear to have twisted under the weight they were supporting.

Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska said the route is a major thoroughfare between Ravenna to the south and Streetsboro to the north.

For years, it has been a direct route through Portage County to Cleveland.

Broska said heavy trucks often use the route and cross the bridge. He believes the discovery prevented a disastrous collapse.

How the problem was not discovered during the inspection in April is not clear.

"Traditionally, from my understanding, the water is very high in April and as you will see when we look at it this corrosion is sub-surface-- below the level of the water where it normally is-- and I don't know if they actually put a person in the water to actually look at the bridge pilings at that time," said Broska.

Broska said he was working with ODOT officials on Tuesday to have the bridge declared a class 'A' emergency, fast tracking its replacement.

Even so, Broska said it is likely to keep the busy route closed for at least six months under the best of circumstances.

ODOT has already posted signs re-routing traffic on alternate roads.

"I'm very confident in ODOT's abilities. They have always been on the spot and they have always done, in my opinion, always done the right thing and I'm confident that they will take care of this situation in as expeditious a manner as they can," said Broska.