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Bridge to be open by Thanksgiving

CHILLICOTHE The new Ironton-Russell Bridge is poised for opening Nov. 23, according to Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller.

Workers are completing last-minute tasks on the span, including striping, painting guardrails and grinding pavement, Fuller said.

Signals have been installed and are ready for final activation on opening day, she said.

The transportation department will release more details on new signal and traffic patterns in time for the opening.

The department is planning an opening ceremony for late morning or early afternoon that day and will release details once the schedule is firmed up. Ironton and Russell city officials are expected to assemble on the bridge to celebrate its completion.

The new bridge will be open to commercial truck traffic; the span it replaces had to ban large trucks because of its age. It has been considered functionally obsolete since 1999.

The old bridge that connects the downtowns of Russell and Ironton will be closed to traffic when the new span opens and workers will start almost immediately to prepare it for demolition, Fuller said.

The demolition will be done in stages, with some preliminary work to remove approaches beginning in December and removal of the main span in late winter or spring.

The main span will be lowered into the river, dismantled and removed by barge for salvage.

The old bridge dates to 1922.

The opening is about a year behind the original schedule for the $81 million bridge because of severe weather delays early in the project.

(606) 326-2652 |

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