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ODOT Says Route 315 Bridge Reopening Ahead of Schedule

Officials say southbound travel on State Route 315 should return to normal Wednesday morning with the reopening of the bridge over Ackerman Road. The Ohio Department of Transportation began repairs after chunks of concrete fell from the bridge last week. An ODOT spokesman says rerouting traffic helped complete the job ahead of schedule.

ODOT had originally planned only to close certain lanes of the bridge while it repaired a large pothole that appeared May 3rd. But later the entire bridge was closed with southbound 315 traffic funneled through the exit and entrance ramps. ODOT spokesman Todd Sloan says the detour meant repair crews were able to work uninterrupted.

"By getting traffic off of the bridge for the entire time," Sloan says, "our crews were able to move quickly and we actually anticipate opening up all three lanes of State Route 315 in time for the morning rush on Wednesday."

ODOT had inspected the bridge in March and had notified the city that it would need to be resurfaced. Then on the morning of May 3rd a 2-foot wide hole appeared as chunks of concrete fell onto Ackerman Road. The city's assistant public safety director Mary Webster says an inspection could not have predicted the pothole.

"No one could have found this problem sooner," Webster says. "What started out as a small pothole became a deeper pothole until you could see through it. You could have inspected the road two days ahead of time and you wouldn't have known this was going to happen. I liken it to a sinkhole. One day it's not there. The next day it is. It's just something that happens."

The city's Mary Webster and ODOT's Todd Sloan say the integrity of the bridge and the safety of the public were never compromised. Both say the pothole could be the result of a number of factors.

"The materials that you put on the road are susceptible to weather; freezing, thawing," says assistant safety director Mary Webster. "They're susceptible to the chemicals you put on them - the brine that you put on them, to pre-treat before snow. Maybe salt, wear and tear - age; all kinds of factors. There's no way to tell what one or two or three factors caused this - it's probably a combination of all of them. There was no way to tell ahead of time this was going to happen. It just happened."

The cost of repairing the 34-year-old bridge is now an estimated $600,000. It reopens May 10th at 5 a.m., though the southbound exit and entrance ramps won't reopen until later in the day. State Route 315 carries about 117,000 vehicles on an average day.