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Ironton-Russell Bridge

Ironton-Russell Bridge

The Ironton-Russell Bridge is a former cantilevered truss crossing of the Ohio River between Ironton, Ohio and Russell, Kentucky. The circa 1922 bridge was demolished in 2016.

The Ironton-Russell Bridge is a former cantilevered truss crossing of the Ohio River between Ironton, Ohio and Russell, Kentucky. The circa 1922 bridge was demolished in 2017 and replaced with the Oakley Clark Collins Memorial Bridge.


The Ironton-Russell Bridge was constructed by the Ironton-Russell Bridge Company and opened in 1922 as the first highway crossing over the Ohio River between Parkersburg, West Virginia and Cincinnati, Ohio. 11 The company levied a toll for both motorists and pedestrians. The State of Ohio Bridge Commission purchased the bridge for $1.35 million in 1963 and maintained the tolls until the Commission was taken over by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). ODOT removed the tolls shortly thereafter.

By the 1990s, the Ironton-Russell Bridge was burdened with very high maintenance costs; it was also functionally obsolete. It had ten-foot travel lanes, two 90° curves, and a metal grate driving deck. 11 A weight limit was placed on the bridge in an effort to extend the life of the bridge in 1991. 25 By 1999, over 11,000 vehicles were driving across the bridge daily. 6

Stress gauges on 36 steel members were installed in October to assist in determining if the weight limit should be lowered. 9 The monitoring, conducted by the University of Cincinnati Infrastructure Institute, suggested that the weight limit on the bridge be lowered from 40 tons to 26 tons to reduce stress and fatigue on the bridge. 12

The Ironton-Russell Bridge underwent structural repairs at the cost of $1 million in mid-2001, which required the reinforcement of bridge joints with metal plates and rods due to corrosion. 16 The bridge deck was further repaired in 2002. 18

ODOT announced in January 2002 that the crossing would be closed to all traffic when air temperatures were below -5°F as the steel on the bridge became more brittle and susceptible to stress and cracking at extreme temperatures. 17 The width of vehicles was restricted to 7.6-feet in May 2008 to prohibit trucks from utilizing the bridge, although buses and emergency vehicles were declared exempt. 25

In mid-2008, half of the bridge’s metal grate driving surface was replaced, and damaged bearings and connections were retrofitted with replacements or supplements at the cost of $1.1 million. 4

Demolition of the Ironton-Russell Bridge began in late-January 2017 31 after the Oakley Clark Collins Memorial Bridge opened in November 2016.



  • State: Kentucky, Ohio
  • Type: Warren Through Truss
  • Status: Demolished - Replaced
  • Total Length: 2,342 feet (1922)
  • Main Span Length: 518 feet
  • Spans:
  • Deck Width: 17.1 feet
  • Above Vertical Clearance: 21 feet


  1. “Cutting the cost.” Ashland Daily Independent, July 7, 2006. August 24, 2007.
  2. Hart, Kenneth. “Ironton-Russell Bridge.” Ashland Daily Independent, July 6, 2006. August 24, 2007.
  3. Hart, Kenneth. “Bridge rehab funding approved.” Ashland Daily Independent, August 20, 2006. August 24, 2007.
  4. “Spring inspections bring fall rehabilitation.” Ashland Daily Independent, February 28, 2007. August 24, 2007.
  5. James, Mike. “Ironton-Russell bridge still on back burner.” Ashland Daily Independent, March 20, 2007. August 24, 2007.
  6. Malloy, David E. “Study begins in effort to build bridge.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 27 Jan. 1999.
  7. Malloy, David E. “Ironton council says `no’ to bridge closure.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 10 Sept. 1999.
  8. Malloy, David E. “Official urges end.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 18 Sept. 1999.
  9. Malloy, David E. “Weight limits on bridge to be tested.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 26 Oct. 1999.
  10. Malloy, David E. “Ohio wants more bridge studies.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 23 Nov. 1999.
  11. Ross, Jim. “Ironton-Russell Bridge opened in 1922.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 22 Dec. 1999.
  12. Malloy, David E. “Ironton bridge estimate goes up.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 6 July 2000.
  13. Redekopp, Christina. “Ironton-Russell bridge proposals narrowed to two.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 6 July 2000.
  14. Malloy, David E. “Two Ironton bridge sites proposed.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 25 Oct. 2000.
  15. Malloy, David E. “Ironton rescinds action on bridge.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 25 May 2001.
  16. Malloy, David E. “Ironton-Russell bridge repairs could end by winter.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 1 July 2001.
  17. Malloy, David E. “Bridge to be closed in harsh weather.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 18 Jan. 2002.
  18. Malloy, David E. “Ironton-Russell bridge to be repaired.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 7 June 2002.
  19. Malloy, David E. “Ironton bridge project still needs funds.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 19 June 2002.
  20. Malloy, David E. “Impact study for new bridge completed.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 27 Jan. 2003.
  21. Malloy, David E. “Feds approve Ironton bridge.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 12 April 2003.
  22. Malloy, David E. “Falcons take flight.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 19 May 2004.
  23. Malloy, David E. “Bridge work may be bid on in fall.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 15 April 2005.
  24. “Ironton-Russell Bridge is long past its prime.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 19 April 2005.
  25. Shaffer, Mark. “Bridge to have periodic closures.” Ironton Tribune 24 May 2008. 13 Feb. 2009.
  26. Pfuntner, Jerry, and Tom Hesmond. “Perseverance and Innovation: Lessons from Ohio’s Ironton-Russell Bridge Replacement Project.” The American Road Transportation Builders Association. N.p., Apr. 2016. Web. 08 Sept. 2016.
  27. Adkins, Andrew. “Spanning It All.” Daily Independent [Ashland] 8 Jan. 2016: n.p. Web. 08 Sept. 2016.
  28. “Groundbreaking Held for New Ironton-Russell Bridge.” WSAZ [Charleston] 3 May 2012: n.p. Web. 08 Sept. 2016.
  29. Nash, Bishop. “Ironton-Russell Bridge is now open to traffic.” Herald-Dispatch [Huntington] 24 Nov. 2016: n.p. Web. 28 Dec. 2016.
  30. Malloy, David E. “Oakley Clark Collins Bridge opens to public today in Ironton and Russell.” Herald-Dispatch [Huntington] 23 Nov. 2016: n.p. Web. 28 Dec. 2016.
  31. James, Mike. “First step in bridge demolition tentatively set for next week.” Daily Independent [Ashland] 21 Jan. 2017: n.p. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.

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