DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited Dayton to discuss how the Bridge Investment Act will help put Ohioans to work repairing, replacing and upgrading old infrastructure in the region.
Brown sponsored the Bridge Investment Act as part of the larger bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. One of the Greater Dayton areas priorities with this money would be the Riverside Bridge, which is almost 70-years-old.
“Rebuilding Ohio bridges and infrastructure with American-made steel and products will create jobs and make our communities more competitive,” said Brown. “Bridges like the Riverside Bridge and more than 3,200 other bridges across Ohio need fixing now. This investment in Ohio, combined with my strong Buy America provisions, is a recipe for job creation in every region of our state.”
Paul Gruner, the Montgomery County Engineer, said that the Riverside Bridge is “fracture critical,” which means that if one of the two girder lines on the bridge fails then the whole thing will come down.
According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, of Ohio’s 3,200 bridges in need of repairs and more than 1,300 of those are structurally “deficient.” The American Society of Civil Engineers rated Ohio’s infrastructure a “C-” in 2021.
Montgomery County has a total of 525 bridges, 60 of which are considered in critical need of repair. Gruner said he hopes by 2026 that 26 of the county’s bridges will be repaired — but that may not happen without assistance from the Bridge Investment Act.
“The economic potential this will unleash, it’s an investment in the Miami Valley that will pay for years. It will create jobs now, doing construction up and down the supply chain,” said Brown. [It will] attract new investments and businesses along the Riverscape. [It will] connect people with jobs, enhance downtown and improve access to everybody in the Miami Valley.
Another bridge of regional significance in desperate need of repair is Cincinnati’s Brent Spence Bridge, which has seen many closures — most notably when a semi caught fire, causing substantial structural damage to the bridge in November 2020.