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Published: Saturday, 4/7/2001

Electrical failure again halts afternoon traffic over Craig

An electrical failure shut down I-280 traffic over the Craig Memorial Bridge yesterday for the third time in less than two weeks, this time at the start of the evening rush.

Traffic was disrupted for more than an hour after the breakdown, which occurred shortly before 4 p.m. and forced I-280 travelers onto downtown streets.

Joe Rutherford, an Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman, said a failed electrical switch kept one of the bridge's two draw spans from lowering properly after a bridge opening. After identifying the cause of the problem, repair crews used an auxiliary motor to lower the disabled span and reopened the bridge to traffic shortly after 5.

Repairs to the faulty switch were to be made with the bridge open to I-280 traffic, Mr. Rutherford said, with test of the repairs planned for midnight last night. ODOT staff had been testing the bridge when the failure occurred, he said.

An electrical problem on March 26 that kept the Craig from opening for a ship caused minimal traffic delays because it occurred at about 5 a.m., and the bridge was cranked open and closed for the ship. But the following afternoon, I-280 was blocked for three hours when a switch failure in the bridge's locking system kept its safety gates from raising after a ship passage.

The Craig is one of at least five active drawbridges on the Interstate system. ODOT plans to start construction late this year on a new high-level bridge to carry I-280 over the Maumee River, but that span is not scheduled to open until 2004.

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