Urbana to pursue funding to replace 104-year-old underground bridge

The City of Urbana will be pursing funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation to replace the underground West Court Street bridge. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

caption arrowCaption
The City of Urbana will be pursing funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation to replace the underground West Court Street bridge. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The City of Urbana will be pursing funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation to replace the underground West Court Street bridge, according to the city’s Community Development Manager.

The bridge is located on West Court Street between North High and North Russell streets and carries traffic over the Town Branch.

“If we are successful in obtaining funds for this bridge replacement, construction would be in 2024 at the earliest,” Doug Crabill said.

Crabill and City Engineer Tyler Bumbalough will be working on the project and grant application.

Crabill said the city hired an engineering firm earlier this year to complete needed analysis in preparation for ODOT’s grant application cycles in 2021. He said the city intends to apply for the funding through ODOT’s Ohio Bridge Partnership Program by April 15.

“If we are unsuccessful with that application cycle, we plan to apply for grant funding through ODOT’s Municipal Bridge Program on or before Aug. 15,” he said.

ExploreHusband, son testify in murder trial of St. Paris woman

The estimated cost of the project is between $350,000 and $400,000.

The city previously submitted a 2019 grant application to ODOT for their 2019 Municipal Bridge Program for the replacement of this bridge, but they were not approved “due to funding limitations and the overall competitiveness of the grant program.”

The bridge is open to traffic, but is only posted for 45% of the legal load and was rated a 4 out of 9 in May 2019 by an ODOT consultant, Crabill said.

Although it is underground, there are signs on both sides of the bridge that reference the weight restriction of the 45% of legal load.

The bridge is connected to the Town Branch, which is a major drainage conduit for the city and drains significant sections of the eastern and southern portions of the city, according to Crabill. It was not recognized by the city on its bridge inventory until November 2018 when it developed a hole through the bridge deck.

“At that time, the Urbana City Engineer reached out to ODOT to request further assistance in appraising this bridge and obtaining a load rating for this bridge,” according to Crabill.

ExploreCoronavirus: Clark County records lowest number of weekly cases since May

Along with the bridge being 104 years old, Crabill said another reason for replacing this bridge is convenience due to where it’s located and that it’s “structurally deficient.”

“Due to this bridge being on a city street, Urbana started to work to obtain funding in order to ensure the expedient replacement of this bridge. The inventory and appraisal of this bridge further revealed that this bridge was originally constructed in 1916,” according to Crabill. “Furthermore, this inventory and appraisal determined that the bridge is structurally deficient.”

The bridge was also declared an emergency at a city council meeting in January, which means that the legislation to apply for the funding for the bridge went into effect after signature by the mayor instead of the standard 14 day waiting period for council legislation, Crabill said.

About the Author