Middlebury Road to close Oct. 20 through April

Kristen Kotz

The Portage County Engineer’s Office will close the southern end of Middlebury Road Oct. 20 to replace the existing county-owned bridge. Construction will last about six months and will cost about $1.1 million.

Middlebury Road was last closed from 2003 to 2006 for construction on the city-owned bridge, which goes over the CSX Transportation railroad tracks. The county-owned bridge, which spans over the Cuyahoga River, is located about a quarter mile north of state Route 261.

Assistant county engineer Scott Miller said while residents will be inconvenienced by detours from the construction, it is necessary for the county to replace the bridge because the existing structure is deficient.

“When the bridge goes bad, you have to replace it,” Miller said. “The bridge has reached the point where we have to replace it.”

The existing structure was built in 1954 and is limited to 34 tons. The new structure will be able to carry a full legal load and will have standard 12-foot lanes, making it wider than the existing bridge. It will also have 6-foot shoulders on both sides.

The county received $951,100 in federal funds and $95,000 in State Issue 1 funding to help pay for the bridge. The remainder will be paid from the engineer’s regular budget, which is made up of license plate fees and gas taxes.

Kent city engineer Jim Bowling said this is a county project and the city’s role is minimum.

“We helped come up with the detour plan and will be evaluating it after it starts to see if there are any problems,” he said.

The detour will direct people to state Route 261 to Cherry Street to Mogadore Road to Stow Street to Haymaker Parkway.

The county has a contractual agreement with Trispan Corporation, a bridge contracting company out of New Middletown, that only allows for the bridge to be closed for 180 days. It also requires the new bridge be open for traffic by April 18. The Trispan Corporation will be fined $760 for each day it exceeds the time frame.

Ward 2 councilman Jack Amrhein said while it is an inconvenience, the road will not be closed as long as the previous time.

Contact public affairs reporter Kristen Kotz at

[email protected].

Additional reporting by Ashleigh Klinger.