NORTH RIDGEVILLE — A routine inspection of a ditch for possible blockages last week found no problems but led to discovery of a sizable crack in a bridge deck that will force its closure this week so it can be replaced.
The 24-foot bridge over a ditch just north of the entrance to the Sandy Ridge entrance into the Meadow Lakes housing development is scheduled to be closed to traffic beginning today and continuing through Thursday or Friday.
“Our guys were checking a ditch last Thursday on Stoney Ridge Road and they happened to look underneath the bridge while they were there and found a crack in it,” Al Swindig Jr., a city service department supervisor said Monday.
The crack was spotted in the sandstone slab that runs beneath an 8-inch thickness of asphalt running the length of the bridge.
“The sandstone was sagging down 2 to 3 inches,” Swindig said. “The crack extended out about 5 feet into one lane.”
Service department workers barricaded one lane of the two-lane span in preparation for this week’s shutdown.
After checking with the Lorain County Engineer’s office, city Engineer Scott Wangler and local officials put together a plan for fixing the cracked bridge, which will see a new concrete box culvert replace the existing one.
Swindig estimated the bridge dates to the 1940s or 1950s.
“It’s hard to tell exactly how long it’s been there, but it’s pretty old,” Swindig said.
The original sandstone abutments at either end of the short bridge, which are in good shape, will be put back in place once crews complete replacement of the roadway.
“The county said this is quite common for old bridges,” Swindig said.
The project will require the closing of Stoney Ridge Road from Barres Road to the south to the Sandy Ridge Road entrance into Meadow Lakes to the north.
Traffic coming south from Avon and other points will detour through Meadow Lakes to get back to Center Ridge Road toward the west end of town.
Residents of the Stone Creek development can leave the development, but must travel north during the road closure, according to Swindig.
Meadow Lakes Boulevard is expected to handle much of the substantial amount of traffic that passes through the area each day during the bridge project.
“If everything goes right, we look to have the road back open by Thursday evening or Friday at the latest,” Swindig said.