Elmore: Village preps for bridge closing

Larry Limpf

Work crews have begun preliminary work on the State Rt. 51 bridge over the Portage River in Elmore.
The bridge is being replaced at a cost of about $6.5 million.
Rebecca Dangelo, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation, said the prep work will cause lane restrictions with flaggers directing traffic.
Around Feb. 1, crews will begin installing a causeway in the river, allowing work to be done on the bridge from below. The causeway will span the river, preventing watercraft such as kayaks and canoes from passing under the bridge. Water flow will be maintained for river wildlife.
In mid-March, crews plan to close the bridge to traffic for about five months. Dangelo said the official detour route is Rt. 51 to U.S. Route 20 to State Rt. 105. Pedestrians and bicyclists may use the North Coast Inland Trail, which stretches along a former rail bridge, to cross the river.
The new bridge will be wider and have 12-foot lanes with 4-foot shoulders. There will be an 11-foot multi-use path on the west side, a 6-foot sidewalk on the east side, and four overlooks. Lighting on the new bridge will be similar to the old-fashioned style of street lights along Rice Street in the downtown section of the village.
Kokosing Construction Co. is the general contractor for the project.
Dangelo said the construction schedule could vary depending on weather conditions.
ODOT personnel held a pre-construction meeting Jan. 7 in Bowling Green with village and Harris Township officials to discuss the project schedule.
Elmore mayor Rick Claar said the village has already relocated utility poles near the bridge site and businesses have been handing out flyers with detour information.
“Everyone has been very pro-active,” he said. “The Explore Elmore Committee and a committee of residents, business owners and others are planning events to let the public know the downtown is open for business.”
The Ottawa County Improvement Corp. has assisted the village with posters advising the public about the project, he said, and ODOT is furnishing signage alerting motorists about the detour and businesses remaining open.


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