Henderson Bridge NOT Being Replaced

On March 19th, the following comment was left on this post:

 Odot is threatening to tear down this bridge and replace it in 2016. I hope people in Lorain that appreciate this bridge will join me and the other historic bridge advocates to try to stop this.

I sent the commenter an email, asking for his source of this information. He provided me with this link which listed the following write-up:

Lofton Henderson Memorial Bridge (Lorain County, Ohio)
The bridge: A cantilevered through truss, this 1939 bridge carries four lanes of traffic high above the Black River Ship Channel.
The significance: An iconic part of Lorain, Ohio, this bridge is National Register eligible and recognized as “Select” on the Ohio Historic Bridge List.
The situation: Despite having a relatively good sufficiency rating (58.7), officials want to get rid of this bridge. The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency website says that the bridge is programmed for replacement starting in 2016.
The plan: As a “Select” bridge that is still in reasonably good condition, the government needs to do a better job of exploring alternatives to replacement. If the current bridge is too narrow — the usual excuse for demolition — then why not consider building a parallel bridge?

Remembering the fiasco from 2008, I was concerned. The Bascule needed repaired, and it was closed for three months? was it? This was to be a replacement and that was going to hurt a lot of folks. I emailed Allen Biehl, the District Deputy Director of ODOT’s District 3 and asked him to confirm or deny the above information. He replied with this email:


I was able to gather more detailed information regarding an upcoming project on the above noted bridge. As I expected, the bridge is not being replaced. The project scheduled and shown in NOACA’s Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) is to perform various maintenance repairs on the existing structure. The description on NOACA’s website is in error; and we are in the process of working with NOACA to have this description corrected on their webpage. I was somewhat suspicious, in that a total bridge replacement would have cost much more than the $3+ million dollars shown on NOACA’s document.

We have no plans to replace this structure in the foreseeable future; and this upcoming maintenance project will insure the bridges longevity. Attached, please find a preliminary Scope of Work that we anticipate on completing with the upcoming project. It is fairly self-explanatory; however, should you have any further questions regarding this project please feel free to contact me to discuss further.

Thank you for taking interest in the Department of Transportation’s infrastructure. We appreciate your reaching out to us for more information.



Here’s the info from the document he attached:

PID 92009 LOR 611-0344 Repair and Maintenance Recommendations

Caulk bottom corners of lower cord and top corners of lower cord at gusset plates

Replace modular exp.jt. at the forward abutment including the related work which includes replacing the end the deck, top of the abutment back wall, approach slab, sidewalk and guardrail.
Substructure repairs to concrete substructure units.

Spot paint select floor beam to truss connections and floor beam lower chords.

Repair R/W fence
Retaining wall replacement along the west side of the forward approach.

Slip Repair along the west side of the forward approach. (All work including sidewalk, guardrail, seeding and mulching.)

Pavement to restore areas disturbed by project
Wearing Surface repairs

Repair Hatches Replace the missing handles and hinge pins on the access hatches in the west sidewalk.

Sheathing repairs Reattach and/or replace loose and missing neoprene sheathing. The sheathing provides protection for the floor beams under the open joints.

Repair sidewalk pedestrian railing.

Seal deck and sidewalk concrete

So, no need for stress or hand-wringing or anything.

At least, we hope.


Back on the Henderson

 A few weeks ago, I did a “Random Shots” piece from the Henderson Bridge. Loraine Ritchey sent me an email, asking me to do another panorama once the leaves were out on the trees. Well, the leaves are out, I got the shot, and all of this is the result of that trip.

Thanks, Loraine!


Before I went to the Henderson, I stopped by the boat launch off of Broadway, which put me right on top of the area that someone told me was called “Bum’s Woods.” Whatever its name, there is an unload area for freighters from many moons ago. Above this, is a concrete wall that has a lot of grafitti. There are some real artists out there somewhere.

One more thing I found while on the Lofton Henderson Memorial Bridge:

Did you know that you can see the Lighthouse from the Bridge?

I do now.