Slow start: Keowee Street bridge replacement hurt by weather, utility problems

The Keowee Street bridge replacement in Dayton is weeks behind schedule because of a slow start and problems relocating water and gas mains under the Great Miami River.

The delay, however, can be made up during construction, said the Montgomery County engineer on Monday, but there’s little margin for other problems if the new bridge is to be completed on schedule.

“Our goal is to still meet the September 2019 completion date,” Gruner said. “But these items have eliminated any cushion that may have been in the schedule, so that further delays due to unforeseen site conditions or weather may push back the completion date.”

Pieces of concrete hang from rebar at the demolition site of the old Keowee Street bridge over the Great Miami River in Harrison Twp. MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF (Staff Writer)

RELATED: Keowee Street bridge will close for almost 2 years

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Workers had to move a water line from the bridge and relocate it underneath the river before the demolition.

“They ran into a big boulder and it took them much longer – a month late in getting that under the river … But I think they’ll make it up,” Gruner said.

Vectren crews had similar difficulties boring a new gas line, he said.

The project was also initially slowed because the Keowee Street bridge couldn’t close until the new Helena Street Bridge in Dayton was reopened to traffic.

WATCH: Drone video shows Keowee Bridge coming apart

Finally in January, the Keowee Street bridge closed, prompting new detours that will be in place almost two years. The 86-year-old, filled-arch bridge carried about 20,000 vehicles a day over the Great Miami River between Dayton and Harrison Twp.

The new $9.3 million. Five-lane bridge will have sidewalks widened to 10 feet. The center pier will feature overlooks on each side of the bridge with girders painted medium blue.

Gruner said the county will begin sending out regular construction updates to businesses in the corridor beginning this week.

The project is also confronting users of the Great Miami River Recreational Trail and paddlers on the Great Miami River with detours and portages.

RELATED: Bike trail detour added around Keowee Street bridge project

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