By Wayne Allen
Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman said on Friday that the Otway Covered Bridge restoration project only has a few items left to be completed by the contractor, then it will be finished.
“They (contractor) have a few items remaining. They are getting the site cleaned up and there is a little bit of electrical work that still need to be done in order to complete the project,” Opperman said.
He said once that’s complete the project will be inspected by the state.
“The project should be finished in the coming weeks. Once of those items are complete we can open it back up to traffic,” Opperman said.
In November of 2013, the Scioto County Commissioners approved a contract with the Righter Company, of Columbus, for $421,900, for the repair and rehabilitation of the bridge. Opperman said people can still view the structure while the project is ongoing, but advises, “keep your distance. It is a construction zone and the contractor is in control of the site. People should stay far enough away to not interfere with operations and for their own safety.”
Opperman said because of the restoration work to the bridge it will add years to it’s life span.
According to The Otway Historical Society, the Otway Covered Bridge has been a historical landmark that has attracted people to our county, and to the Otway area, for many years.
In March of 2012, a portion of the bridge roof was damaged by an F-0 strength tornado that went through Otway and also damaged the fire department. Otway Mayor Suzanne Nichols said the damages to the bridge were estimated at $1,800, and Belfor Restoration, of Columbus, was awarded a contract to replace the damaged part of the bridge roof.
According to the Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail, the bridge is located southwest of the junction of state routes 73 and 348. The bridge was erected in 1874 and was in use until it was bypassed in 1963. This historic structure is listed on the National Registry and was completely restored by the village of Otway in 1974. What makes the Otway Bridge so unique is that, of the 80 or so covered bridges that were built in the history of Scioto County, it is the lone survivor.
Opperman said once work is complete, his office will work on scheduling a ribbon-cutting to ceremoniously reopen the bridge.
For more information, visit the Otway Historical Society and Covered Bridge on Facebook.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT