Upcoming lane closures for ODOT bridge safety checks

PERRYSBURG TWP. Ohio (WTVG) - It's an important job to keep us safe, but leaders with the Ohio Department of Transportation say you may not even realize it's happening as you’re driving.

ODOT District Two oversees 950 bridges across 8 counties in northwest Ohio.

Rebecca Dangelo with ODOT tells 13abc, "We are very proactive with our projects and making sure that we maintain what we already have so we very rarely, it gets anything that needs to be acted upon."

Dangelo says that federal law requires bridges to be inspected at least every other year. But, the Ohio Revised Code calls for annual checks.

"When they inspect, they're looking for cosmetic things as well as structural things," says Dangelo. "So we have a different rating system with the superstructure, which is what we drive, on the bridge deck, the beams, and then the substructure."

She says that on the biggest bridges, inspectors use a snooper truck. One of only two in the state is in northwest Ohio for the next week or two.

"Right now, we have the Snooper truck in northwest Ohio. This truck has an arm that goes out and under the bridge. So if you see this happening we have inspectors under the bridge looking at everything."

But there are so many other ways to check the bridges too. "We have drones that we use, certain robots," she says. "We have a crew that goes out in a kayak under the ones that have water underneath them."

Dangelo says it's rare to find a catastrophic issue during bridge inspections since they're done so often. She explains, "Because we do the yearly inspections, obviously we get to watch the bridges age a lot closer than normal. Typically, if we have something that is an emergency, it's something that has been hit or structurally damaged."

Bridge inspections happen throughout the year, as long as there isn't snow or ice on the ground. So as a reminder, when you see lane closures and orange barrels, slow down and move over.

For a look at the current bridge inspections scheduled for our area, you can visit ODOT's
website.