In August, ODOT announced a delay in the construction of a new Ironton-Russell Bridge to replace the current bridge. The project was slated to go out for bids this fall. The project has been delayed for several months while ODOT looks for alternative funding.
“When I was told they were going to delay the project I was upset. I went to the director and said, ‘We’ve been told for many years of the bridge opening and you just did not pull the rug out from underneath of us, you pulled the whole floor,” Blankenship said.
Wray said Blankenship has made it clear the Ironton-Russell Bridge is a priority to him and the community he represents.
“We are committed to making a decision on how best to move forward in providing a safe, reliable bridge in the quickest, most efficient way by the end of October,” Wray said.
ODOT estimates the bridge will cost between $85 million and $90 million.
Although ODOT has committed to keep close to the original construction schedule they will continue to explore Public Private Partnership opportunities.
“This was the second meeting with ODOT in our efforts to prevent the delay of the Ironton-Russell Bridge. In our meeting yesterday I was informed that ODOT will study the Public Private Partnership Program, or the traditional bidded out program. They will let me know which method they are going to use within three weeks,” Blankenship said. “Basically, we shaved off a five-month delay. This is good news for the city of Ironton.”
ODOT has hired consultants that will consider using the Ironton-Russell Bridge as part of the Public Private Partnership Program. The consultants will also use this same process on projects throughout the state.
WAYNE ALLEN may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 208, or email@example.com.