Rating:
12 votes

Ironton-Russell Bridge (old bridge)

Photos 

Overview

Photo taken by James Adorno

BH Photo #108315

Map 

Street View 

Facts 

Overview
Lost Cantilevered Warren through truss bridge over the Ohio River between Ironton, Ohio and Russell, Kentucky
Location
Russell, Lawrence County, Ohio, and Greenup County, Kentucky
Status
Demolished
Future prospects
Scheduled to be replaced by new cable-stayed bridge. Contract has been let. Demolition in Fall 2015.
History
Built 1922, owned by the Kentucky State Highway Department
Builder
- Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Design
Warren PTC through truss, cantilevered design
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 725.1 ft.
Total length: 2,401.0 ft. (0.5 mi.)
Deck width: 21.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.53213, -82.68846   (decimal degrees)
38°31'56" N, 82°41'18" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/352830/4266209 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Ironton
Elevation
515 ft. above sea level
Inventory numbers
ODOT 4401255 (Ohio Dept. of Transportation structure file number)
BH 27840 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 11/2013)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 6.9 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2012)
3,670

Update Log 

  • May 20, 2017: Updated by Kelly McClanahan: changed to removed, as seen on ABC News feed.
  • September 21, 2016: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Removed category: Pin-connected
  • September 21, 2016: New photos from Jack Schmidt
  • August 25, 2016: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • September 24, 2015: Photo imported by Dave King
  • February 27, 2015: Updated by Robert Elder: Added NBI Information.
  • January 19, 2012: Updated by Nathan Holth: Updated planned demolition date.
  • August 26, 2010: New photos from Calvin Sneed
  • April 28, 2010: New Street View added by J.P.
  • April 4, 2010: New photos from Calvin Sneed
  • September 28, 2008: Updated by Curtis Lee: Added GPS Coord., USGS map info, approx. elevation above sea level
  • December 19, 2005: Posted photo from James Adorno

Sources 

Comments 

Ironton-Russell Bridge (old bridge)
Posted June 27, 2017, by Clover Nico Star (greydelislefan [at] gmail [dot] com)

Sigh.

Another historic bridge (and a unique one due to the 90-degree approaches on either side) gone, replaced with yet another boring cable-stayed bridge... :(

Ironton-Russell Bridge (old bridge)
Posted May 12, 2017, by Don Morrison

Sad to see another cantilever lost.

The method seems more sensible than the usual BOOM/splash then drag the pieces out of the river too.

I wonder if the cantilever spans' demise will be so graceful.

Ironton-Russell Bridge (old bridge)
Posted May 12, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

That link has some quality demolition photographs. They really illustrate how a cantilever truss functions. In other words, they show that you can remove the center span of a cantilever truss and the towers will remain standing. Likewise the center span can be removed intact as an independent span.

These photos would be good materials for teaching Cantilever Trusses 101.

Ironton-Russell Bridge (old bridge)
Posted May 12, 2017, by Scooter (kyscooter [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This bridge is in it's last days. :(

It seems a sort of humane dis-assembly.

http://minutes.machine.market/index.php/2017/01/24/pictures-...

Ironton-Russell Bridge (old bridge)
Posted November 16, 2016, by James Gentner

The bridge will be closed in the next few weeks and the first week of December they will start to tear it down.

Ironton-Russell Bridge (old bridge)
Posted October 12, 2016, by Clover N. Star (greydelislefan [at] gmail [dot] com)

While I'm happy that it hasn't been destroyed (yet), the fact that it probably will be in mere months of this comment makes me sad. I lived in Ashland as a kid, so we never used the Russell Bridge that much, but it was always so nice to look at. I'll miss it when it's gone, even from ~2000 miles away in Arizona.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted September 9, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I received word that a petition to preserve the historic bridge for pedestrian use has just been launched as has an associated Facebook page. Please sign the petition!

https://www.change.org/p/ohio-department-of-transportation-s...

https://www.facebook.com/IrontonRussellBridge/

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted August 13, 2015, by Cassie (greydelislefan [at] gmail [dot] com)

I live nowhere near it anymore but as a kid this was a local bridge to me (I lived in Ashland so we used the Willis and Williamson bridges a lot more regardless). I wish it could be preserved somehow. It has historical value, it's unique due to the 90-degree bends at either end. But realistically, I just can't see a way, and that makes me sad.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted October 23, 2014, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Also, the sidewalk is "technically" closed to pedestrians because of a peregrine falcon that I guess had either attacked someone or they thought it might attack someone. Although I pretended I didn't see the sign and walked the bridge earlier this year and all the falcon did was squawk and fly around.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted October 23, 2014, by Robert Elder

I drove across this bridge today but I didn't stop for photos as I was a little short on time and the bridge has been covered pretty well on this site already. If you haven't visited this bridge yet you still have time as the new bridge is not too close to completion yet. That being said you want to get here soon as you can.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted September 30, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Located within the draft plan sheets for the replacement bridge, attached is the draft design for the interpretive plaque which is intended to mitigate the insidious plan to demolish this beautiful landmark historic bridge which will not be in the way of its ugly, undistinguished generic structure which is little more than a slab of concrete held up by some wires.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted May 17, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The bridge suffers from "brittle steel" which makes rehabilitation for vehicular traffic problematic, but my sources suggest that this would not preclude the reuse of the bridge for pedestrian use. The American people are owed the preservation of more of our nation's historic cantilever truss bridges. It is unfortunate that some of the bridges which were more feasible to preserve (such as the Pomeroy-Mason Bridge) have been demolished, leaving us with those bridges such as Ironton-Russell which may have more obstacles to preservation. However, I am confident that if Transportation Departments cared for cantilever bridges in the way they care for wooden covered bridges, that these obstacles would easily be overcome.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted May 17, 2010, by Mike Blair (wcmi92 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yeah, I am going to miss this old bridge when she's gone. Unfortunately I don't see any possibility of saving it, even to let it stand as is closed or as a pedestrian only bridge.

It's a shame, considering that it is probably the oldest steel truss bridge crossing the Ohio River, and, in fact, may be the oldest one ever constructed for automobile traffic (the Sciotoville railroad truss 30 miles downstream is older by 3-4 years).

I have crossed this bridge tens of thousands of times, including every day I went to school in Ironton from 8th grade to graduation, and much of my adult life in my commute to Huntington (bypassing Ashland and getting to US-52 in Ironton is a time saver).

It is a bit scary, especially given the highly visible strain gauges and the splints holding parts of the truss together. Once this one is gone, the Ben Williamson bridge in Ashland, which opened about 8 years or so after Ironton-Russell will be the last classic cantilever left on the Ohio. Fortunately it is in excellent condition and there are no plans to replace it any time soon, if ever.

Growing up in this area, it is easy to overlook as "common" that we have several massive and in some cases, near record breaking bridges across the Ohio River. We take them for granted. Which is a shame.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted October 9, 2009, by Todd aka "bridgebuilder" (mrwalk08 [at] aol [dot] com)

Here is the winning design of the proposed, say "official" 2015 replacement of the Ironton-Russell bridge. I do like this bridge. If the old cantilever would be a "pedestrian park" things would be much better. The old bridge has memories for me because my Grandmother and Grandfather Walker took me across it. If it goes, "it goes". At least "fond memories" can't be dynamited.

Webmaster's note: The photo that was here has been incorporated into the main site.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted October 9, 2009, by Todd aka "bridgebuilder" (mrwalk08 [at] aol [dot] com)

I read online that the "replacement plans" are back on track. Yes, there will be a fourth cable-stay bridge in Ohio. In 2015, as what folks are talking, this classic will be in the scrap heap. Wouldn't it be nice if my home state were to step up to the plate like New York state. Well New York preserved a cantilever span in Poughkeepse and made a walkway and bike trail out of it. If concerned historians really care THIS bridge can be saved! There, still, are peregrane falcon nests on the KY tower by the way. Cable-stays are good looking bridges. This "rare" steel truss cantilever should be concidered for a "pedestrian park", not being blown to smithereens. C'mon OHIO!!!

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted June 18, 2008, by Todd D. Walker (hippiewalk [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Dear Mr Baughn

I took these pics while visiting my dear grandmother the summer of 2007.... I grew up fascinated by this and several other truss bridges down in southern Ohio/ Kentucky area. Them "concrete things" (UCEB's) have replaced quite a number of trusses I crossed as a kid. I say the Ironton-Russell bridge should be left up as a bicycle/pedestrian crossing. There is falcon nests in one of the bridge's towers (KY side) and by law they cannot be disturbed.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted March 3, 2008, by Melissa Gray (blantonmissy [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I get an eerie feeling every time I cross the Ironton-Russell Bridge. I feel that if the deficiency has a rating of 7 then the money should be found to replace the bridge in 2008-2009 not in 2011. I mean I think a government grant or something should apply here, afterall the safety of the public traveling over the bridge should be first and foremost. The bridge is closed in sub zero weather because it could collapse in those temperature. I do believe that we pay enough in taxes to be able to drive across a safe bridge.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted August 18, 2007, by Michael L. Blair (wcmi92 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Some notes...

The bridge is monitored 24/7 by a strain gauge system installed a few years ago. Weight limits were maintained way above the minimum (3 ton) due to a study from the strain gauges, after ODOT was considering reducing the limits to 3 ton.

The Ironton-Russell Bridge when constructed (I've been told that it was originally built by Armco Steel) was the ONLY Ohio River crossing between Wheeling, WV (Wheeling Suspension Bridge) and Cincinnati, OH (Roebling Bridge).

It is by far the oldest surviving steel cantilever Ohio crossing, and is extremely historic in it's own right.

Originally the bridge had a wood deck. It was eventually replaced by a metal mesh deck, with some portions concreted.

It used to be a toll bridge, until the late 1980's.

It survived the devastating 1937 flood and the 1997 flood...

It has a very unique feature in that the approaches on the KY and OH sides are angled 90 degrees from the bridge alignment... This has caused MANY wrecks especially in winter... I was told that this was deliberately chosen at the time to limit speed on the bridge... No bridge of it's size in the world has this feature.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted August 18, 2007, by Michael L. Blair (wcmi92 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Some notes...

The bridge is monitored 24/7 by a strain gauge system installed a few years ago. Weight limits were maintained way above the minimum (3 ton) due to a study from the strain gauges, after ODOT was considering reducing the limits to 3 ton.

The Ironton-Russell Bridge when constructed (I've been told that it was originally built by Armco Steel) was the ONLY Ohio River crossing between Wheeling, WV (Wheeling Suspension Bridge) and Cincinnati, OH (Roebling Bridge).

It is by far the oldest surviving steel cantilever Ohio crossing, and is extremely historic in it's own right.

Originally the bridge had a wood deck. It was eventually replaced by a metal mesh deck, with some portions concreted.

It used to be a toll bridge, until the late 1980's.

It survived the devastating 1937 flood and the 1997 flood...

It has a very unique feature in that the approaches on the KY and OH sides are angled 90 degrees from the bridge alignment... This has caused MANY wrecks especially in winter... I was told that this was deliberately chosen at the time to limit speed on the bridge... No bridge of it's size in the world has this feature.

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted August 18, 2007, by Mike Blair (wcmi92 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Since the I35W disaster, I've been avoiding the old bridge... I've crossed it tens of thousands of times.

Our local paper published the inspection ratings of all our Ohio River bridges, the Ironton-Russell Bridge is Structurally Deficient with a rating of 7.

It's in really poor condition with holes in the steel grate deck, some of which are patched over with steel plates. Replacement has been put off until 2011 at the earliest because the proposed cable stayed bridge came in over budget.

ODOT is going to do another major rehab of the bridge later this year once the 12th Street bridge in Ashland re-opens (it's being painted).

Ironton-Russell Bridge
Posted August 22, 2006, by Jim Corcoran (jimcoriii [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The roadway of this bridge is a combination of steel grate and asphalt. It's a high bridge and is quite thrilling (scary) on a motorcycle. Area is subject to very dense fog.