COPLEY — The Cleveland-Massillon Road bridge over Wolf Creek is expected to reopen in late September — weather permitting, of course.
The heavily traveled bridge, which spans the city of Barberton's drinking water reservoir, has been closed since April when beams were found to be deteriorated and it was declared unsafe for vehicles, forcing thousands of motorists who use the bridge daily to take lengthy detours.
Ruhlin Co., which was hired by Summit County for $389,447 for the emergency project, has ripped out the former bridge and are in the process of replacing the span. Seven new bridge beams are expected to be delivered the week of Aug. 19.
The Sharon Township-based company hopes to start installing the beams that week and then add a concrete overlay.
Ruhlin has constructed a floating barge that workers can use while building the new bridge abutments. The water level at the reservoir also was lowered by a foot and a half for the project, said Joe Paradise, deputy director of engineering services at the county Engineer's Office.
The bridge was constructed in 1922 and was last rehabbed in the mid-1970s. It's only about 48 feet long, with a causeway making up the rest of the span across the water.
There's plenty of interest in the project. 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 has urged motorists to use state Route 261 and Summit Road as a detour.
"I have a lot of people saying, 'When? When?'" Paradise said.
He said they are trying to open as soon as possible.
Dan Sutter, general manager at the nearby Loyal Oak Golf Club on Cleveland-Massillon, said it's been frustrating to have the road closed — both for golfers coming to the course from the north and for him personally, because that's how he would drive into work.
"But safety is more important," he said. "I'd rather they err on the side of caution."
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.