COPLEY — The Cleveland-Massillon Road bridge over Wolf Creek will be closed for the foreseeable future after Summit County workers found cracks on interior concrete beams Tuesday.

The heavily traveled span was closed unexpectedly Friday afternoon after exterior beams were found to be deteriorated. The county engineer's office, which is responsible for the bridge, scraped off a layer of asphalt Tuesday to inspect the interior beams and discovered the cracks.

"It's not safe for traffic," county engineer's office spokeswoman Heidi Swindell said.

County officials had hoped to reopen the bridge with one lane of traffic in the center and traffic lights controlling vehicles in each direction if the interior beams had been in good shape. But with that not possible, it's unclear when the bridge will reopen.

The engineer's office will seek special permission from the county council and the executive's office to replace the bridge on an emergency basis so the process doesn't take too long, Swindell said.

"We are moving as quickly as possible," she added.

Swindell said there's no timeline yet for hiring a contractor or starting construction — or even a cost estimate. The county could opt to replace the bridge or install a large culvert there, she said.

The bridge was built in 1922 and was last rehabbed in 1977.

Wolf Creek, also known there as the Barberton Reservoir, serves as the drinking water reservoir for Barberton. County officials anticipate having to take extra precautions during construction because of the reservoir.

More than 4,500 vehicles a day drive the road, which serves as a major route between Fairlawn, Bath and Copley and Norton and Barberton.

"The bad thing about closing some of the major roads through Copley is there are no easy detours," Copley Service Director Mark Mitchell said. "People are going to detour a few minutes out of their way."

The county is urging motorists to use state Route 261 and Summit Road as a detour. Some drivers, though, are taking local roads.

The township already has received complaints about speeding on Coon Road, which travels between Minor and Stimson roads, and police are ticketing there, Mitchell said. The speed limit on Coon is 25 mph.

He said he plans to install flashing speed signs on the road this week.

 

Rick Armon can be reached 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.