Kent’s Allen Drive Bridge to be replaced in 2016

Brooke Bower

The Ohio Department of Transportation, or ODOT, has selected Kent’s Allen Drive Bridge as part of its new Ohio Bridge Partnership Program.

James Bowling, city of Kent superintendent of engineering and deputy service director, said the Allen Drive Bridge is worst of the 10 city-owned vehicular bridges in Kent, and the only one to need construction once the Fred Fuller Park Bridge is completed.

The general rating for the bridge that runs over Fish Creek is a four. Bowling said the bridges are rated during inspections on a one to 10-scale with one being the worst.

He said it is perfectly safe to ride on and can still carry a full load but will need work over the next few years. The city has been looking at this bridge and incorporating reconstruction of it into the 2018 city plans. 

“The element of concern is it’s a concrete slab bridge, which has no beams underneath it so there is some cracking,” Bowling said. “It’s nothing that brings major concern but to keep it from continuing to crack we sealed the deck once and it’s in the capital plan to start design for 2018, which will more than likely replace it completely.”

Bowling said city didn’t have to do anything to become a part of the bridge program.

ODOT press secretary Steve Faulkner said bridges were individually selected for the bridge program based on a set criteria list.

According to ODOT’s website, a bridge was eligible for selection if it was locally-owned, identified as structurally deficient, was open and carrying vehicular traffic, not currently funded by other sources and met the federal bridge definition of having a span of 20 feet or greater.

The Ohio Bridge Partnership Program will reconstruct or refurbish bridges that are both city-owned and county owned across the state. The Allen Drive Bridge was the only city-owned bridge selected in Portage County and one of 20 city-owned bridges being replaced across the state.

“This has never been done before,” Faulkner said. “With the Governor Kasich’s leadership we were able to take a look at finances we had and make them available for local bridges that we knew needed work.”

Faulkner said $120 million would be spent in the three-year bridge partnership program that will replace or rehabilitate more than 200 county and city bridges in Ohio at no cost to the county or city. ODOT will be in charge of all the funding, designs and construction for each bridge project it has selected.

Right now Faulkner said $250,000 is estimated for the Allen Drive Bridge project but as it gets closer to the targeted construction time the value may change based on the bridges structure and the contractor’s plans.

Bowling estimated that the city would spend $500,000 to $750,000 on replacing or rehabilitating the bridge on its own.

As of now Bowling and Faulkner both said there is no set replacement or rehabilitation plan for the bridge, and that the contractor and design have yet to be determined.

ODOT is planning on working on this bridge in 2016. Bowling said there is small traffic flow over the Allen Drive Bridge because it serves a neighborhood; however, neighborhood residents should still be able to access their homes without much hassle.

“I’m just happy the state chose a structure in the city,” Bowling said. “It’s a good one for ODOT to do for use because it’s the worst bridge in the city. It will allow us to deal with other issues in the city of equal importance.”

Contact Brooke Bower at [email protected].