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Bridges in Lorain County

Lorain County encompasses 495 square miles, has 9 incorporated cities, 7 incorporated villages and 18 unincorporated townships, housing over 271,000 people.

It also has 230 bridges that the County Engineer is responsible for monitoring, maintaining and repairing (and, if necessary, replacing.) Additionally, there are over 1,300 culverts the Engineer maintains, but it is some of the 230 bridges that we will examine here.

Any structure with a span of over 10 feet is considered a bridge. Less than 10 feet is termed a "Culvert." Bridges within Lorain County cover spans from 10 feet to 305 feet.

Many years ago, when roads were first being built to accommodate the rapid explosion of automobile travel in Ohio and Lorain County, bridges were needed to span the many rivers and streams these new highways needed to traverse.

Those earlier bridges, constructed of stone, wood, concrete and metal, were erected to meet the need. They have performed admirably, and in some cases, far beyond expected usable life-spans.

Throughout the years those structures had endured and performed a yeoman's job, carrying the weight of cars and heavy trucks, enduring Mother Nature's drastic weather changes... But those rigors and the unstoppable 'Father Time' eventually take their toll.

Nowadays, bridges are being replaced & rehabilitated throughout Lorain County and Ohio, using stronger, longer-lasting materials and modern technology throughout. Sound Engineering Construction methods are employed but one thing remains the same.

At the Lorain County Engineer Office, detailed inspections are made annually, with the results recorded and the information placed in a special computerized Bridge tracking program. From these inspections and the information compiled, Engineers are able to determine which bridges need repair or replacement, and are able to extend the usable life of the bridges by employing preventative maintenance & monitoring.

Repair & replacement is accomplished on a priority basis, using the inspection monitoring and bridge tracking programs. The County Engineer's Office sometimes supplies funding for these projects from its own budget. But, because such massive rehabilitation programs are becoming numerous as the older bridges approach the end of their usable life spans, The County Engineer draws from specifically designated government assistance programs, like the Ohio Public Works Commission ( Issue 2 ) to help finance the projects. Without such assistance, it would be impossible to finance all the needed reconstructions & repairs.

Let's take a look at some of these other bridge structures, constructed in the late 1800's and throughout the 1900's, as well as some of the modern bridges being built today.

"Warren Truss" structures: So named for their original designer's specific style of panels and strengthening 'truss' members on each side.

These bridges were built in a variety of sizes, from single-span trusses - where only one length was required from one side to the other-, to double-span trusses, where two sets were required to cross the river, using a center pier structure as a support for one end of each set.

Let's take a look at some examples of both of those types of structures:


In addition to these two popular types, there are also some unique bridges still standing and being used. Constant monitoring and maintenance keep these bridges useful and safe.

One particular unique structure style is the Dean Road Bridge, a double intersection "Pratt Through Truss," crossing the Vermilion River in Henrietta Township.

However, most of the bridges being built today, either as totally new structures or to replace older deteriorating abridges, are made of pre-stressed concrete or steel beams. These bridges are wider, stronger and built to last at least 50 years, with proper maintenance.

There are some exceptions, however, when replacing some older bridges with new bridges - one being the "Mill Hollow" bridge. This bridge crosses the Vermilion River on North Ridge Road, inside the Lorain Metro Parks' Mill Hollow Reservation in Brownhelm Township. This bridge was replaced with a new galvanized two-span, welded, "Warren Pony Truss."


Lorain County Engineer
Ken Carney P.E., P.S.
247 Hadaway St.
Elyria, OH 44035
Elyria: (440) 329-5586
Lorain: (440) 244-6261
Fax: (440) 329-5587
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