Train strikes Crain Avenue bridge

Jeff Russ

Police urge drivers to avoid the area

No injuries have been reported after a train carrying only coal hit the Crain Avenue bridge around 1:40 p.m. Traffic is being diverted from the bridge, and police are urging all drivers to avoid the area.

Seven train cars overturned after the train failed to make the bridge’s 14-foot clearance, said James Peach, Kent Police Chief. Only two people were on board the train, which is operated by the CSX Corporation.

Alternative routes include:

– From the east on East Crain Avenue and Lake Street, head south on Water Street and turn right at West Main Street. Turn right on Gougler Avenue.

– From the north on North Mantua Street/State Route 43 and west on Fairchild Avenue, head south on South Mantua Street and turn left on West Main Street.

The bridge serves approximately 15,000 vehicles per day, making it the second most active crossing in the city, according to the city of Kent’s Web site. Tracks operated by CSX and the Cuyahoga River both run under the bridge. The bridge is said to be in poor condition, according to appraisals done by the city in 2001. Construction on the bridge is scheduled to begin in March 2009 and to be finished by December 2011.

On Sept. 20, a combination car heading eastbound toward Ravenna snagged power lines cutting telephone service to 2,000 AT&T subscribers.

Representatives from the Kent city engineering division are on site assessing structural damage, and a Hazmat team has been dispatch after reports of a ruptured sanitary system pipe.

Check back to for the latest updates.