June 10, 2010
Batavia, Ohio. “Unfortunately, one of our worst fears has played out here,” said Clermont County Engineer Pat Manger. “It now appears that damage to the historic Stonelick Williams Corner Covered Bridge is so severe, that it cannot easily be repaired. The bridge will not be reopened to traffic until middle or late 2012.” The Stonelick Williams Corner Covered Bridge was built in 1878; it is the only covered bridge in Clermont County.
On Saturday, May 22, 2010, the Engineer’s Office was notified by citizens living near the bridge that several boards were hanging from the floor of the structure; the bridge was closed immediately. “Upon further examination we have found that over a dozen floor beams have been damaged,” said Manger. “We have talked to people who live in the area and they have told us they saw a large truck cross the bridge twice just before the damage was reported. The load limit on that bridge is 3 tons, allowing only cars to cross.”
Manger said a possible tragedy was averted, because of the quick response in reporting the problem and the immediate decision to close the bridge that weekend. “All I could think about was the truck damaging the bridge, and then the next day a family heading to church crossing that bridge, and the bridge gives way,” he said. “I am so thankful that we and the community are working together to keep an eye on this county treasure. We are committed to protect and preserve the covered bridge for generations to come.”
Because funding for the $1.2 million bridge rehabilitation is not yet available, and the cost to repair the recent damage is too steep, the bridge will remain closed until the rehabilitation project is completed in 2012. When completed, the rehabilitation project will increase the load limit on the bridge from 3 to 12 tons, enabling emergency vehicles and school buses to cross.
“Deputies have identified the trucking company owner and are currently working with the Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office on the appropriate direction in this case,” said Clermont County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Rick Combs.
The Stonelick Williams Corner Covered Bridge is located on Stonelick Williams Corner Road near US 50 in Stonelick Township. Until the bridge is reopened, traffic is being detoured along US 50, SR 132, and Stonelick Williams Corner Road.
Pictured above: A broken floor beam beneath the historic Stonelick Williams Corner Covered Bridge
For additional information about this or other county news, contact Clermont County Communications Director Kathy Lehr at (513) 732-7597 or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.