News 11 Looks at Bridge Safety in Ohio

MAUMEE -- In light of the tragedy in Minneapolis, News 11's Dick Berry wanted to find out how safe Ohio's bridges are, so he set out on Thursday to ask some questions.

The bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis is an underdeck truss bridge. There are some such bridges in Ohio, but none in our area. The Maumee-Perrsyburg bridge is relatively new, and one of the bridges inspected annually by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Indeed, ODOT has an aggressive bridge maintenance and inspection program. Federal law mandates bridges be inspected every two years.

That's not the case in Ohio. ODOT inspects every bridge annually -- be it city, county or state.

"We have inspectors, consultants that make those inspections, superstructure of the bridge, all the structural elements, the piers and abutments to make sure the bridge is safe and sound," says David Dysard, ODOT.

And for 2008, $230 million has been allocated for the repair, maintenance and preservation of statewide bridges. ODOT also assists local jurisdictions with over $90 million.

"Knowing the traffic and present conditions of the bridge, a degradation rate is predicted for that bridge and money is put into the operating budget to do maintenance," says Richard Martinko, UT Transportation Center.

No matter what the maintenance schedule, nobody can rule out a bridge accident. But Ohio does take precautions to avoid a disaster like the one in minnesota.

Posted by KO