By MARGIE TRAX PAGE
KINGSVILLE - - John Smolen's passion for covered bridges has become his legacy and Ashtabula County's claim to fame.
As the onetime county engineer, Smolen worked for years to restore and preserve the area's covered bridges. A new generation of covered bridges is born as work on the county's 17th covered bridge begins.
The bridge will be located on State Road, north of Route 46, east of Route 11 and south of Route 84.
The new bridge, which will be the longest covered bridge in the United States, should be completed for the 2008 Covered Bridge Festival, committee member and festival director Betty Morrison said.
"This bridge will be the fourth longest covered bridge in the world and will cement Ashtabula County's reputation as the covered bridge capitol of Ohio," she said.
The Harpersfield Covered Bridge, which spans 228 feet, will be eclipsed as the new bridge, which will cover 600 feet, is built.
The longest covered bridge in the United States is the Medora Covered Bridge in Vermont, which is 458 feet long.
Ashtabula County is known for wineries, Lake Erie and the covered bridges. Our bridges bring people and tourism dollars into the county and give this area personality and character," Morrison said.
The new structure will be built of four, 150-foot sections that will rest on concrete abutments and three concrete piers. The bridge will hover 75 feet over the Ashtabula River and be constructed three-foot-thick pieces of Douglas fir or yellow pine. The siding will be of hemlock or yellow poplar, Morrison said.
The bridge is federally funded with $7.8 million and will be handicapped-accessible, with an elevator for access to a second-story walkway.
Even before the bridge is built, it is already having an identity crisis. Ashtabula County's covered bridges are named for the roads they are on, but there is already a State Road Covered Bridge.
- Local News
Agencies, businesses partner to show jobs and job training exist in Ashtabula County
Cost of frost-free pipes steams customers
Customers advised by the city to let faucets run to keep pipes from freezing are now coming to Conneaut City Hall seeking relief from higher-than-usual water bills, officials said.
Commissioners to hold meeting at Jefferson Area High School
The Ashtabula County commissioners will begin hosting a series of meetings various high schools throughout the county, with the first one being Monday.
Ashtabula County Business Exchange to give $3000 in scholarships
The Ashtabula County Business Exchange will continue in 2014 to award local students with three $1,000 scholarships. Two of the scholarships are open to Ashtabula County high school seniors that will be attending college in the fall. The other is the Jay Sartini Memorial Scholarship that is open to sophomore students attending Kent State Ashtabula.
Westside cleanup planned for Saturday in Ashtabula
Residents who live on the westside of Ashtabula are invited to clean up their neighborhood 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the corner of West 39th Street and West Avenue.
Ashtabula fences off school ruins with hopes of cleaning up site
Eight months after a fire destroyed a vacant elementary school on West Avenue, the city’s top officials have had it fenced it off.
Man drives truck into Rare Cherry
A Jefferson man could face felony charges after he reportedly drove a truck into an Ashtabula Township business in an attempt to strike an employee with the vehicle.
Conneaut trash changes ready for action
After many months of debate, and several weeks in legislative limbo, a makeover of Conneaut’s trash-hauling regulations could get City Council approval at next week’s regular meeting.
Ashtabula County home to provide space for Adult Protective Services referrals
The Ashtabula County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center will provide temporary institutionalization for clients referred by the county’s Adult Protective Services Unit.
Contractor could pave Conneaut’s streets this year
Sections of several Conneaut streets will see asphalt this year, but city workers may not be doing all the work, according to a plan administrators laid out at Monday’s City Council work session.
- More Local News Headlines
- Agencies, businesses partner to show jobs and job training exist in Ashtabula County