The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

June 28, 2012

Span deteriorates as officials wait on ‘historic’ designation

GREENVILLE — While awaiting possible designation as an historic structure, the Ohl Street bridge in Greenville is slowly falling piece by piece into the Shenango River.

Mark Miller, head of the county’s bridge department, asked commissioners Wednesday morning to put up additional signs and barricades to prevent injuries while state officials take their time in deciding whether the bridge itself and the area around it – the former Bessemer Railroad – merits historical distinction by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Miller, who recently inspected the bridge, said he is concerned because people are hanging out under the span. “We saw some empty beer cans underneath it and that becomes a safety issue for people who are walking on the bridge or underneath it.”

The county has no trespassing signs erected, but Miller said some of those were stolen. He would like to see additional signs, some more fencing to close off the bridge and possibly increased police patrol.

County Commissioner Chairman John Lechner, exasperated by the length of time it is taking for the evaluation of the historical benefit, said, “Well, by the time they get around to it, it will be all over because it will have fallen into the river.”

Lechner also said the historical and museum commission bears no liability if someone gets hurt. “No, if that happens, it’s all on us,” he said.

County fiscal administrator John Logan, who lives in Greenville, said the closed bridge and three-year delay “is putting people at risk and holding the community hostage.” Logan said most bridge projects take about 18 months from design to construction.

Rather than trying to preserve the county’s historical bridges, Logan suggested building a park with a scaled down but working version of each bridge. “Then anyone who wants to see a particular type of bridge could come look at it and we could move forward with fixing it,” he said.

Commissioner Brian Beader said he has received calls from Greenville residents about how long the bridge has been closed. “We need to reach out to those residents and to the mayor and the council and let them know what’s going on with this.”

Greenville borough manager Jason Urey said his biggest concern with the closed bridge is the risk if something forces the closure of the Main Street bridge, now the only river crossing in town. “If there is an accident or something that shuts it down, then what?” He also said he was not aware that anyone had been trespassing on or under the Ohl Street bridge but would let patrolmen know.

“It’s an inconvenience for the people and it could become a safety issue, so we’d like it repaired or replaced as soon as possible,” Urey said.

The bridge was built in 1909 and in 2009 – exactly a century later – was closed for repairs or replacement. “At that time,” Miller said, “someone asked the state about possibly seeing if the bridge had some historical value and so that is included in this phase of the study.”

The projectPATH website, a state-run site that shows where the bridge is in that assessment, shows no activity since April 2010 when it indicates “yes” that reviews agree the bridge and the surrounding area have historical value.

Known as a Pratt-truss bridge, it was built with vertical pieces and diagonal pieces that slope toward the center. Invented in 1844, that type of bridge was practical for spans longer than 250 feet and was a common configuration for railroad bridges. Miller said all truss bridges have the potential to be designated as historic and noted the county has five different truss bridges.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.


    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.
     

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014

  • One suspect in home shooting is jailed

    The first of three suspects police say were involved in an attempted robbery that ended in a shooting is in jail.

    July 25, 2014

  • Dancing kids K.I.D.S. day

    Hoping to reach children at just the right age, when they are old enough to understand but not past the point where it may be too late, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission counselors held an “alternative activities” day at the courthouse Thursday, complete with music and dancing, hot dogs and treats, games and T-shirts.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo