Gov. Steve Beshear and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, along with other state and local officials, broke ground Thursday morning on a long-awaited Ohio River bridge replacement linking the communities of Ironton, Ohio and Russell, Ky. “Few things promote regional growth, development and cooperation like safe, modern highways and bridges,” Beshear said in statement issued by his office. “Ironton, Ohio, and Russell, Ky., are separated by a great river.
But thanks to a bridge, they have been joined as neighbors for generations. The new Ironton-Russell bridge will preserve those social, cultural and economic connections.”
The Ironton-Russell Bridge replacement project calls for replacing the existing bridge that connects the two communities via their downtown by relocating it between Second and Jefferson streets in downtown Ironton and the U.S. 23 viaduct south of Russell. The project, led by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) also includes demolition of the existing bridge upon completion of the new structure.
Representatives and officials from Ohio and Kentucky, including ODOT Director Wray, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock, Mayor Rich Blankenship of Ironton and Mayor William Hopkins of Russell met the governors at Ironton’s Depot Square for a ceremonial groundbreaking to commemorate the project’s start and pay tribute to the existing bridge.
While today’s ceremonial groundbreaking marked the start of the multi-year project, construction began in early March, with contractors clearing the banks of both state shores, drilling shafts for the Kentucky abutment and laying foundations for piers in Ohio.
ODOT awarded a contract in January to Brayman Construction Corporation for $81 million. Brayman Construction is headquartered in Saxonburg, Pa. The project has a four-year window for total completion, with an interim completion in the fall of 2015.