BLUE ROCK, Ohio – The southern end of Muskingum County has been inundated with simultaneous infrastructure projects that have disrupted traffic flows and caused commuters plenty of headaches. In addition to the new Philo Bridge, there have been State Route 60 closures for roadbed and culvert replacement without any easy detours.
Muskingum County Engineer Project Manager Shawn Johnson explained the role that the Gaysport Bridge plays in the traffic pattern and where it is in the reconstruction process.
“And you know, whenever State Route 60 is closed this is a good run around for traffic,” Johnson said. “A lot of commuters from McConnelsville work in Muskingum County. So if there was a closure on 60 or… and the Philo Bridge was closed a lot. So this played a vital role in that. We’ve had traffic counts range anywhere from 700 cars a day to almost 3,000 cars a day. So we really don’t what the accurate number is until both bridges are open and running at the same time.”
The Gaysport Bridge served as a detour for the Philo Bridge and the heavy truck traffic took its toll on the bridge deck. But the piers that were built in the 1880’s remain sound and will be repurposed for the new structure, which will save a considerable amount of money.
“The engineer’s estimate was right around $7 Million. Low bid came in about $6.685 Million. So right now everything is looking good. Both time schedule-wise and financially. And then hopefully spring of 24 is when they’ll be pouring the deck, finishing up the approaches and then it’s slated to be completed in October of 24,” Johnson said.
The new bridge will feature galvanized steel beams, a concrete deck and incorporate an 80–year-lifespan.