The Summit County Engineer's Office plans to hire Ruhlin Co. of Sharon Township this week to replace the Cleveland-Massillon Road bridge over Wolf Creek in Copley.
The $389,447 project, if approved on an emergency basis Wednesday by the county Board of Control, is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
The heavily traveled bridge, which spans the city of Barberton's drinking water reservoir, has been closed since April when exterior beams were found to be deteriorated and it was declared unsafe, forcing thousands of motorists each day to take a lengthy detour.
The engineer's office had been debating whether to replace the bridge, which was built in 1922, or install a culvert instead. Replacing the bridge is costlier, but necessary because Barberton needs access by boat to the northern portion of the reservoir for sampling and maintenance, officials said.
The project involves replacing the bridge deck, installing new box beams and making repairs to the abutments.
"I’m glad we were able to find a solution that everybody is happy with," said Heidi Swindell, spokeswoman for county Engineer Al Brubaker.
Barberton Service Director Michael Vinay said the city may have to lower the reservoir during the project, but water customers won't be affected. He said the city is pleased that the county worked with the municipality on the access issue and opted for replacing the bridge.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also will be involved in coordinating the project, officials said.
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 county is urging motorists to use state Route 261 and Summit Road as a detour.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.