By Frank Lewis
Rumors that the U.S. Grant Bridge in Portsmouth will close for an overlay project are not true. The Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce had heard the rumors as had several area business leaders, and even a discussion on the radio, but the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) says they do not expect the work to cause the bridge to close.
“That will be a project during next year’s construction season,” ODOT District 9 Public Information Officer Kathleen Fuller said. “We were doing our budgets and the funds were in so they’re scheduling it earlier than anticipated. All it is is a concrete overlay and they just mill out a little portion.”
The project is the result of some deterioration that was found during a bridge inspection. Fuller said, because of the air and the moisture from the river, there has been a small amount of deterioration, so it will require some overlay work.
“They’re going to go ahead and remedy that next year,” Fuller said. “And there are no plans to close it. There may be a closure in one direction but open to the opposite direction and it will flip-flop. If they close it down, they would then detour over the Carl Perkins Bridge. If they have to do one direction closure, they would have traffic moving in the opposite direction. But we’re still finishing up plans for this so we haven’t finalized everything.”
Fuller did caution that the annual inspection is coming up in a couple of weeks.
“It will be just like we’ve always done. They will just be working off of the shoulder and traffic will be maintained both directions,” Fuller said. “It shouldn’t affect anybody but we do want people to go slow through there because we will obviously have crews out we want them to be safe but there will be no closures then either.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.