STREETSBORO, Ohio-- The Ohio Department of Transportation said when its Lake Rockwell Bridge on Rt. 14 was inspected in April that inspection carefully looked at every part of the bridge and found no structural problems.
The span, build in 1985, was closed suddenly on Monday after contractors, who were working on a different project, saw that the bridge deck appeared to be sagging and discovered the pillars that were holding the bridge up were corroded and buckled.
The damage is so bad that inspectors on Tuesday determined that the bridge could not be repaired and would have to be replaced.
On Wednesday, ODOT provided a photo to FOX 8 of the same bridge taken in mid-July that appears to show the pillars intact.
Justin Chesnic, a spokesman for ODOT District 4 in Akron, said had inspectors detected any structural problems with the bridge when it was inspected they would not have permitted it to stay open.
ODOT agrees that the corrosion on the pillars would have happened over years, but they believe the buckling is something that would have only happened very recently.
The discovery by contractors on Monday may well have prevented a disastrous collapse.
The bridge is on a busy route between Ravenna to the south and Streetsboro to the north.
It is also a direct route through Portage County to Cleveland.
Chesnic said when the bridge was inspected in April, it was graded as a 7 on a scale of 1-through-9, with 9 being a new bridge.
He said inspectors had no reason to believe that the corrosion on the pillars was bad enough that they could have all buckled just six months later.
Corrosion on one of the pillars in photos taken by FOX 8 News appears to be bad enough that there is daylight showing through a hole in the metal below where the metal is bent.
Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska said the route, including the bridge, has often been used by large trucks over the past 31 years.
Chesnic could not explain what could have caused all of the pillars to suddenly twist and buckle as they did, but it is something they are trying to determine themselves.
On Tuesday, ODOT said the replacement of the bridge has been given emergency status, giving the project a priority status.
Mayor Broska said under the best of circumstances the project could take six months to complete.
Those who use Route 14 are being directed to use alternate routes.
**Watch Dave Nethers' original report in the video above**