By Wayne Allen
United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released information Wednesday that indicates 80 of the 334 bridges in Scioto County are functionally obsolete or structurally deficient.
Brown said there are 6,500 bridges in Ohio that are either functionally obsolete or structurally deficient as defined by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Brown said a solution to this issue in Scioto County and throughout Ohio could come with the renewal of the federal highway bill, set to expire at the end of July. Brown called for a bipartisan approach to fixing America’s highways and bridges by passing a long-term transportation bill.
In April, Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman released the 2015 report of condition and needs of county roads and bridges. The report states the current county needs would cost $18.3 million to fix. The cost of immediate need for the bridge system in Scioto County is $11,709,000. County roads requiring, or proposed for, paving improvements is estimated to cost an additional $6,685,851.21. The combined road and bridge needs in Scioto County is $18,394,851.21.
In his April report, Opperman said there are 86 structures under a 10-foot span in need of immediate replacement, which is estimated at $2,094,000. Opperman said there are some bridges that were built as recently as 2004 that are considered functionally obsolete by today’s standards.
Opperman provided the Daily Times with a listing of county bridges, the top 10 oldest bridges in Scioto County include Otway Covered Bridge constructed in 1874, a bridge over Arch Lane in Green Township constructed in 1882, a bridge over Greenbriar Road in Jefferson Township constructed in 1900, a bridge over Mill Road in Porter Township constructed in 1905, a bridge over Laurel Fork Road in Brush Creek Township constructed 1909, two bridges on Pond Run Road in Nile Township constructed in 1928, a bridge over Big Spruce Little Bear Creek Road in Union Township constructed 1930, a bridge over Monroe Road in Vernon Township constructed in 1932, a bridge over Mackletree Road in Nile Township constructed 1934, and a bridge over McDermott Pond Creek Road in Rush Township constructed in 1934.
Opperman said that just because a bridge has been given the status of functionally obsolete or structurally deficient does not mean they are not safe. He said each of the bridges in Scioto County is inspected annually.
The FHWA defines Functionally Obsolete as a bridge that is no longer by design functionally adequate for its task. The FHWA defines, Structurally Deficient as a bridge that has one or more structural defects that require attention.
“America’s transportation system was once the envy of the world. But if we expect to continue our leadership in the global economy, we must invest in a long-term transportation plan—for both highways and transit programs,” Brown said. “Too many of our roads, bridges, and railways have fallen into disrepair – in Ohio alone, nearly one quarter of our bridges are deficient. Forty-five percent of our state’s major urban highways are congested, costing our drivers $3.6 billion a year. The clock is ticking—it’s past time to rebuild our country’s roads and bridges and reauthorize the highway bill.”
He said unless the federal transportation bill is reauthorized, critical road and bridge repairs in Ohio will be delayed – costing millions of dollars and putting construction jobs at risk.
On Tuesday, Brown — a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs — joined eight senators, including Democratic leadership and ranking members of the Senate Commerce, Finance, and Environment and Public Works Committees, in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlining a path toward enactment of a long-term transportation bill.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT