MAUMEE (WTOL) - The Upper River Bridge currently runs parallel with the Ohio Turnpike Bridge spanning from Maumee in Lucas County to Perrysburg in Wood County.
It was built just after the turn of the 20th century, and has been abandoned since 1982 when a derailment caused structural damage to the bridge.
The bridge has not been operational in over 30 years now, so many of us have never seen it being used, but have enjoyed its beauty over the years.
It is now finally time to take down the old landmark.
The aging bridge no longer meets Coast Guard standards.
Authorities want to make sure no one gets harmed on the barricaded structure where access is not permitted, as well as below where kayakers and other water enthusiasts frequently pass through.
“It’s an older bridge, you can see that it’s rusted, so while we have the time right now, we’ve got that funding that Wood County Port Authority has really worked on, we’re going to take that down so we can really improve the safety,” said Rebecca Dangelo, spokesperson and Public Information Officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation covering Northwest Ohio.
Demolition has already begun.
Because it's so close to the Turnpike, the bridge will not be blown up, instead, it is going to be broken down piece by piece. Crews have installed a causeway and restricted the waterway across half of the river from the Wood County side first.
"The span is between two piers, so they cut it and drop it down onto the causeway and then they disassemble it more from there so they can transport it out,” said Dangelo.
Crews will make cuts span, then pull it down onto the gravel causeway they built where it is cut up for easier removal and transportation.
Once crews remove the five piers and five spans across the Wood County half of the river, they will do the same on the Lucas County side.
The plan is to have all the steel removed by Christmas.
This kind of project isn't heavily weather dependent like road paving, and that is why it was scheduled for this time of year.
Crews will return in the spring to complete a commemorative park with pieces of the bridge on display on the Lucas County side, for the community to come and enjoy the riverscape.
The Wood County Port Authority is in charge of this project, but enlisted the help of ODOT due to their technical expertise.