COLUMBIANA - It's a wonder the century-old stone bridge on South Main Street lasted this long, City Manager Lance Willard said this week.
Holding up a piece of concrete taken from the construction site Willard easily broke it in two. The pieces crumbled onto the table in a pile of dust.
He told City Council the company hired to replace the bridge said it was the worst they have seen, and they have worked on more than 300 bridges.
Shook Brothers employees work Wednesday cutting large slabs of concrete, which is all that remains of the South Main Street Bridge. (Salem News photo by Katie Schwendeman)
The small bridge goes over a culvert south of the railroad tracks and the city initiated the replacement project last year.
Shook Brothers Inc. of Berlin Center was awarded the contract in August and began working on Monday. The road is closed to traffic at least 45 days.
Willard said that even in the small span of 24 hours the company has made a lot of progress.
"The contractor thinks it was maybe from the WPA (Works Progress Administration) era, so it's had a lot of years. He knew exactly how this bridge was built. He said it ranks right up there with the worst one. He wasn't very impressed with it," he said.
He also said the contractor was amazed the bridge hadn't already buckled under the weight of passing trucks.
The bridge is being replaced with a box culvert and about 60 percent of the project is being paid for with a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission. The rest has already been set aside in the city's budget.
Councilman Dick McBane called Willard's attention to a bridge on Fairfield Avenue similar to the one on South Main Street and asked whether it should be evaluated.
Willard said it should be and likely would in the future.
The meeting adjourned in less than an hour since there was no new or old business on the agenda.