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Traffic issues to ramp up during bridge inspections, repairs

October 8, 2018

IRONTON — Traffic between Ashland and Ironton will be a mess later this month while the Oakley Collins Bridge will be closed during the daytime hours for a bridge inspection and the Ben Williamson Bridge connecting Coal Grove and Ashland continues to be closed as part of a repair project.

The bridge connecting Ironton and Russell will be closed for four days starting Tuesday, Oct. 16, and continuing through Friday, Oct. 19. The span over the Ohio River will be closed to traffic between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. those four days.

The Collins bridge will reopen to evening and overnight travel those four days, according to a news release from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“It will bring some congestion our way,” said Ironton Mayor Katrina Keith. “It’s a necessary evil. We’re just asking for patience while the inspection is ongoing.”

The bridge’s cables, towers and deck will be inspected that week as part of an annual bridge inspection.

The traffic problems between the two bridges, about six miles apart, could exacerbate the long lines of traffic along U.S. 52 of vehicles waiting to get onto the Simeon Willis Bridge to Ashland.

“The project is on schedule,” Allen Blair, a spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, said of the Ben Williamson bridge that has been closed for several weeks.

“They have until Nov. 15 to complete the work,” Blair said. “We hope it will be earlier than that.”

With the two bridges being closed, it will be an inconvenience, Blair said. “It could impact the traffic situation some,” he said. “Rush hours will be more congested. We can’t change anything at this point.”

“The whole issue is safety,” Blair said. “It’s going to be very difficult for those four days. Just bear with us.”

“The whole issue is safety. It’s going to be very difficult for those four days. Just bear with us.”

Allen Blair

spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

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