MOUNT VERNON — Graham Road residents who were hoping to get a bridge for Christmas were disappointed, but the Knox County Engineer’s Office delivered on their wish just a couple of days late.
Since March 2010, folks living on Graham Road, north of Bishop Road, have been unable to directly reach U.S. 36/Ohio 3 because of a bridge closure on Graham over Dry Creek. The bridge was reopened to traffic on Tuesday.
Structural problems caused the closure and the bridge was slated for replacement, but funding wasn’t immediately available in 2010. Work on the project finally started in late summer and the bridge was on pace for a pre-Christmas opening until continual wet weather forced postponement of final grading and paving.
“It’s still a little muddy out there, but we got the bridge opened on Tuesday,” said Assistant County Engineer Larry Bechtel. “The surface is gravel for now, and the asphalt will go down in the spring.”
The bridge construction project was handled by U.S. Bridge of Zanesville. Eighty percent of the funding came from the Ohio Public Works Commission and the balance from Knox County.
For Graham Road residents, taking detours had become routine.
“It’s been a pain,” said Chris Kreuzer, “but the highway people have been good to work with. The bridge would have been opened sooner except for the weather, and they had no control over that.” The bridge closure added 2 1/2 miles to Kreuzer’s commute.