Rehabilitation work on the Marengo Street bridge has barely begun and already area residents are wondering when the small span over Delaware Creek will reopen.
In early May, the city shut down Marengo Street between Island Avenue and Erawa Drive to repair the 1915 bridge. To date, city crews have removed the structure's lead paint and refurbished a significant amount of the bridge's structural steel. Tuesday, the city opened proposals from companies hoping to replace the bridge deck, sidewalks, and guardrails, said Dave Moebius, the city's commissioner of streets, bridges, and harbor.
"The easiest way to take care of this bridge would be to take it out and put in a new one," Mr. Moebius said, noting that the bridge is on the Ohio Department of Transportation's list as eligible for the National Historic Registry. "But because of its historical significance, we're refurbishing it instead."
Councilman Rob Ludeman said he's been fielding calls from residents in the area wondering when the small bridge would again reopen to traffic. Because city crews have had to remove portions of structural steel, refurbish them off-site, and replace them on the underside of the bridge, work has been steady but slow, Mr. Moebius said.
And the city has replaced more steel than originally anticipated, he added. When completed, the project is estimated to have cost $450,000.
Marge Reynolds, who has lived near the bridge about 30 years, said she'd like to see the project move along more quickly. "It's a great inconvenience to the neighborhood," said Ms. Reynolds, 89. "They've got to get it together and get that project done."
The bridge's condition was questioned last year when a fallen tree destroyed part of the railing and sidewalk on the bridge's north side. As a temporary fix, crews removed the rest of the sidewalk and railing, then installed a guardrail as a barrier.
Residents fearing that the 2-foot-high guardrail would not stop a skateboarder or a bicyclist, lobbied the city to make the bridge safer. In July, 2003, Mayor Jack Ford announced the bridge was to get more barriers. He said permanent repairs would likely take a year.
Mr. Moebius said residents can expect the bridge to reopen in mid-August, when structure work is done. He warned that it will be shut again for about 90 days in fall when the deck and sidewalks are rebuilt. He saidthe work will not be finally done until 2005, when it will be painted.
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