South Point driver charged with hitting bridge

SSU Sports Information

June 29, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

In a release from the Ironton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Dennis J. Smith 59, of South Point, Ohio has been charged with hitting the Ben Williamson Bridge in Ashland, Ky. on May 17.

The bridge was damaged when it was struck by Smiths 1987 Mack Truck, on the Ohio approach of the bridge. The bridge carries traffic one way across the Ohio River from Ohio to Kentucky, linking U.S. routes 52 and U.S. 23.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials have temporarily converted Ashland’s 13th Street Bridge to two-way traffic.

The KTC is advising motorists that traffic on U.S. 52 in Ohio will take the Ashland exit pass the closed 12th Street bridge, and turn right onto the 13th Street bridge. Cones will mark the lane to US 23-Winchester Avenue where all traffic must turn right. Northbound U.S. 23 vehicles may continue straight and southbound U.S. 23 traffic can take the truck detour using Greenup Avenue.

Southbound traffic on U.S. 23-Winchester Avenue will be restricted to one left-turn lane where they can turn left onto the 13th Street bridge (The dedicated left-turn lane has been eliminated to give incoming traffic more room to maneuver). Two lanes will then carry traffic across the bridge to access U.S. 52 toward either Ironton or South Point.

According to released information from the Ironton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, “Through the course of the investigation, the driver was identified as Dennis J. Smith of South Point, Ohio. He was cited into the Ironton Municipal Court on charges of failure to control and leaving the scene of a crash. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday July 1, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. Dennis Smith was operating a 1987 Mack semi-tractor and trailer loaded with scrap metal at the time of the crash. On May, 17 the truck was westbound on US 52 and made a left turn onto the bridge southbound to Ashland, Ky. When making the turn, the trailer struck a bridge support beam off the right side of the roadway. The truck continued into Kentucky without stopping or reporting the crash. The crash remains under investigation.”

The KTC recently awarded a contract to Evers Welding of Cincinnati for $52,400 to repair the bridge. The work on the bridge in anticipated to be completed July 31.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.