The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

August 20, 2008

Nation’s longest covered bridge to be dedicated

Ashtabula County’s 17th is 613 feet long and cost $8 million

Ashtabula County’s newest covered bridge, and the nation’s longest, will be dedicated 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26.

The ceremony will be held at the southeast end of the bridge, with access off Plymouth Ridge Road. The Covered Bridge Festival Committee is holding the event, which is being underwritten by Lakeview Federal Credit Union.

A highlight of the event will be the official naming of the bridge, which spans the Ashtabula River on State Road. There is already a State Road covered bridge in the county.

The new bridge is 613 feet long and cost $8 million. It is No. 17 for Ashtabula County and the longest in the United States.

The bridge was designed by John Smolen, who was county engineer when the idea of bridging the Ashtabula River Gulf with a wooden structure was first conceived nearly a decade ago.

General contractor for the bridge is Union Industrial Contractors (UIC), which started work on it two years ago. As of Tuesday, only a small amount of siding on the southeast end remained to be installed; the contractor is waiting on a shipment of the material. UIC has until the end of the month to complete the bridge.

Betty Morrison, executive director of the Covered Bridge Festival Committee, says the dedication is scheduled to coincide with the presence of U.S. and state officials being in the county for the river cleanup celebration that morning. Gov. Ted Strickland will not attend because of his commitment to be at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The covered-bridge dedication is open to the public. Parking will be available on both sides of State Road and in the Indian Trails Park parking lot at the bottom of the bridge. Morrison says visitors need to be wear appropriate shoes; the access road and State Road approach have not been paved and could be muddy and rutted.

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