IRONTON — With another polar vortex bringing sub-zero temperatures to the area, the Ironton-Russell Bridge will be closed to traffic for the second time this month.
Currently, the forecast calls for an overnight low temperature in Ironton between minus one and minus five. As such, crews from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Lawrence County highway maintenance facility will close the bridge at 11 p.m. tonight and the closure will be in effect until inspections have cleared it to be reopened.
Although the bridge which links Ironton, Ohio to Russell, Kentucky is safe for travel, the bridge’s steel truss structure is not wholly guarded against temperatures sustained below zero should it incur damage from any severe or unusual external force. Therefore, ODOT officials monitor the weather closely during cold-weather months, and in the event of projected sub-zero temperatures, the bridge is closed as a precautionary measure to ensure motorists’ safety and the structural integrity of the bridge.
Once the temperature is sustained above five degrees Fahrenheit, ODOT inspectors will conduct a field inspection to determine if any changes have been critical to the bridge’s load-carrying capacity. In addition, they will review the information from strain gages that are affixed to the bridge to determine if the bridge has incurred any additional stress and ascertain if any course of action is deemed necessary before reopening the bridge to travel.
While the bridge is closed, motorists will be detoured via U.S. 52 and the Ashland bridges at Coal Grove.
For information on additional lane and road closures caused by construction, accidents, flooding or other related traffic events throughout the state, visit ODOT on the web at www.Ohgo.com