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Ribbon-cutting planned celebrating reopening of Lake Rockwell bridge

Span may open to traffic several days after ceremony, says ODOT official

By BOB GAETJENS Reporter Published: March 22, 2017 12:00 AM

After about six months, the reopening of the Route 14 bridge over Lake Rockwell in Streetsboro is imminent.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has set a ribbon-cutting ceremony for 1 p.m. March 23, but Public Information Officer Justin Chesnic said it could still be several days before the span opens to traffic.

"It kind of depends on weather and what we can get done this week," he said March 20.

Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska said the approaches to the bridge need to be paved, guardrails need to be installed and striping needs to be done.

"The only thing that stops them with the painting is the wet weather," he said. "The temperatures don't bother them that much."

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The bridge was closed Oct. 3 after crew members for the Ruhlin Co. discovered that the pylons supporting the bridge were near buckling.

ODOT immediately closed the bridge and embarked on a project to replace 162 feet of bridge. The Ruhlin Co. was working on a project to fix bin walls on the bridge at the time and is now replacing the bridge.

Broska said the new pylons, which are bored into bedrock 40 feet below, are galvanized steel encased in concrete and protected by an outer vinyl envelop.

"That bridge was not in bad shape," he said. "They're going to find out why they had a failure on that steel. This was totally a problem with the supports in the water."

According to Chesnic, the failure of the steel pylons remains under investigation.

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Upon hearing the reopening of the bridge is imminent, Sandy's Notions Florist Owner Amanda Yackmack said, "Yay!"

She said the florist shop located at the corner of Diagonal Road and Route 14 survived on business from funerals, weddings and holidays, such as Valentine's Day.

"Our walk-in business will definitely pick up from the reopening," she said. "We kind of missed that. I know everyone's excited about it being open soon."

Although the shop was able to keep much of its delivery business, it has been more difficult during the closure of the Lake Rockwell bridge, Yackmack said.

With several funeral homes in Ravenna, Yackmack said she often found herself detouring around the bridge.

"You can't just run to Ravenna anymore; it takes awhile," she said.

Before the closure, late orders were not a problem, she added.

"Sometimes people just called at the last minute and we could say, 'OK, sure we'll get it there in 15 minutes.'"

But that hasn't been possible for the past six months, she said.

Even though Streetsboro's Dunkin Donuts is located near the center of town, owner Jim Damicone said he's noticed a slow down in business in recent months.

"A lot of people who maybe came in multiple times a week may still come in, but less frequently," he said.

Damicone said he believes many commuters get on the Ohio Turnpike at Route 44 and take it into Streetsboro, bypassing the closure and the more local Route 303 detour.

Dunkin Donuts will be offering a variety of promotions after the bridge reopens aimed at bringing back customers who may have gotten out of the habit of stopping for breakfast.

While the closure has been a drag on sales, he said he's glad the buckling pylons were spotted.

"It could have been tragic," he said. "We've got to be thankful for what didn't happen."

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9440


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