Crain Avenue bridge OK, but still closed until Wednesday

Jeff Russ

Concern over damaged storm, sanitary sewer lines remains

VIEW maps of alternative routes that avoid the Crain Avenue bridge.

The Crain Avenue bridge will remain closed until at least Wednesday due to damaged sewer lines caused by the train accident at the location Thursday afternoon.

Portage County engineer Michael Marozzi said the bridge was OK to open following an inspection Saturday. The bridge, however, remains closed because the damaged storm and sanitary sewer lines are located underneath the top of the bridge.

“We were surprised that there was very little damage to the structure,” Marozzi said. “There was some scraping underneath the bridge, and there was some sandstone debris, but we didn’t see any significant damage.”

Workers will begin repairing the sewer lines tomorrow now that the trains have been cleared beneath the bridge. City workers are currently collecting the sewage into a pump and transferring it into a nearby sanitary manhole on Water Street.

“If we reopened the bridge, we would have to close it right back down,” said Eugene Roberts, City of Kent service director .

Roberts said drivers should expect delays and should seek alternative routes.

The bridge closed shortly after the accident, which occurred around 1:40 p.m. Thursday, when a CSX train traveling from Newell, Pa., to Flint, Mich., failed to make clearance and struck the bottom of the bridge, spilling coal all over the track. None went into the Cuyahoga River. CSX had the area cleaned up and had trains running on the tracks by Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

CSX spokesman Garrick Francis said the corporation is still investigating exactly how the train failed to make the 11-foot clearance.

The bridge was rated a level IV class bridge, meaning it is in poor condition, in a 2007 inspection. Construction on the bridge is slated to begin in March 2009 and last until December 2011.

Marozzi said there is no reason to close the bridge down for that reconstruction now.

“There was no evidence of any long-term damage caused by the accident,” Marozzi said. “We were satisfied with what we found.”

Contact public affairs reporter Jeff Russ at [email protected].