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* News Release *
Tuesday, April 6, 1999
For Immediate Release

Emergency Closure Prompted By Overweight Vehicles

Butler County Engineer Dean C. Foster reports that overweight vehicles may be responsible for having significantly weakened Hamilton New London Road Bridge #02.425 in Ross Township. Foster ordered the bridge closed yesterday when a crack was discovered in the concrete abutment cap. The original stone abutment is also bulging, posing the risk of possible collapse.

"The truss system is technically in good shape. We can salvage it and use it in another location," Foster noted. "However, the floor and the abutments are in desperate need of replacement. We've been working to secure federal funds to help pay for a new structure. Originally this money wasn't to become available until fiscal year 2001, but I'm looking at trading this bridge with another less urgent project in order to free up funds this year. For the time being, we will keep the bridge closed as a safety precaution until we are able to determine the funding." Foster said he would prefer to replace the bridge this year rather than make the temporary repairs necessary to reopen it.

BCEO engineers have completed design and engineering of the new bridge. Only the environmental assessment still needs to be approved and the necessary right-of-way acquired. Foster said the estimated cost of building a new structure is $425,000.

The existing 50-foot steel truss bridge, built in 1950, spans Dry Run about a tenth of a mile northeast of Layhigh Road. It was originally posted with a 22-ton load restriction in 1980. That limit has been gradually reduced as the bridge has aged and weakened. Most recently it was posted with a 5-ton load limit on July 29, 1997. Since that time however, the bridge has been closed frequently for emergency deck repairs.

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