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Martins Ferry Bridge repair expected to be finished Friday

Photo provided THIS BENT I-beam on the Martins Ferry footbridge is expected to be replaced by Friday.

MARTINS FERRY — The footbridge that spans Ohio 7 in Martins Ferry is expected to reopen in time for Friday night football, said Lauren Borell, Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

The bridge was damaged recently when a crane being transported on the highway beneath the bridge struck it. It bent one of the bridge’s I-beams and some other parts of the span.

ODOT officials decided to keep the bridge closed until it could be repaired to ensure people’s safety. The bridge is frequently used by those wanting to gain access to First Street, which is where Martins Ferry High School’s football stadium is located.

The bridge provides a convenient way to reach the stadium for those who live in the city and want to walk there. Some people also park at the adjacent parking lot beside East Ohio Regional Hospital and then use the bridge.

Borell said work to replace the damaged beam began Wednesday and was expected to continue today.

“They’re going to put in a temporary beam to get the bridge open,” she said.

A permanent beam is expected to be installed at a later date, possibly in the spring, she added. Engineers believed at first that the bent beam might be straightened using heat, but the contractor on the job, Ruhlin Co. of Sharon Center, Ohio, said it was too damaged.

The collision caused some bearings to move, and crossbars were damaged as well.

During the work, at least one lane is expected to be closed, along with some additional 15-minute closures of both north and southbound lanes.

Borell said the bridge was constructed in 1968.

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