The Selma Pike bridges will be closed for four months this summer when crews begin a nearly $1 million rebuilding project.
Clark County commissioners recently awarded a more than $933,000 contract to Eagle Bridge Co. to replace the two 59-year-old bridges over the Little Miami State Scenic River.
The Selma Pike bridges, built in 1954, need to be replaced this year because rusted beams and deterioration has forced officials to load reduce them by 20 percent, Clark County Engineer John Burr said.
“It’s 60 years old and that’s about the life span of a bridge,” Burr said. “This is one that needed to be replaced like last year or even before that.”
The Selma Pike bridge replacement in Green Twp. is among about 60 projects on the 2014-2017 Transportation Improvement Program. The TIP is a four-year planning document that lists federally funded projects in the area for highways, transits, traffic and other transportation enhancement projects.
About 95 percent of the bridge project will be paid for with federal money obtained from the County Engineer’s Association of Ohio. The county engineer’s office must pay the remaining 5 percent, about $50,000.
Officials had planned to replace the bridges last year, but the project was shelved after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources requested crews conduct a survey for endangered rayed bean mussels, also known as Villosa fabalis, that were thought to be in the scenic river.
The rayed bean is a freshwater mussel that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed as an endangered species, which are animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct.
Ohio is home to 65 native species of freshwater mussels, which provide ecological benefits to state waterways, according to ODNR.
Mussels are living bio-filters, each capable of cleaning several gallons of water per day. The number of species has declined over the last century due to habitat loss and poor water quality, according to ODNR.
The survey and search for the mussels cost the county $10,000 to $13,000 to complete, but none were found.
Construction on the bridges is expected to begin in mid-June or early July, and traffic will be detoured to Old Springfield Road to Ohio 41 and Ohio 42. The project will be completed in October, said Paul DeButy, deputy engineer for the Clark County Engineer’s Office.
The Selma Pike bridges are among four that will be replaced in the county this year.
The Jamestown Road bridge was completed about a week ago at a cost of about $50,000. The Marquart Road and the Tremont City Road bridges will also be replaced this year and will cost about $550,000 and $800,000, respectively.
For more information about local construction projects, visit the county’s new website and click My Government and then Engineer on the county’s new website: www.clarkcountyohio.gov.
Tiffany Y. Latta tracks local, state and federally funded construction projects in Clark County. In addition to the $1 million Selma Pike bridge replacement, Latta has written stories about efforts by the county to widen Interstate 70 to six lanes from Enon road to Ohio 72, as well as plans to add a roundabout at a dangerous intersection on Ohio 235.