A Timeless Treasure
With a spot on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978, Dean Road Bridge is one of the oldest of Lorain County’s 228 bridges. In addition to withstanding nearly 200 years of Ohio’s harsh winters and nasty storms, the bridge also survived a traumatic car accident in 1988 and car fire in 1992.
Only 8 miles from Lake Erie, the structure has become a hot spot for those seeking natural scenery. Boasting especially idyllic views during autumn when the landscape bursts with fall foliage, the bridge overlooks the river as it carves through the shale bluff cliffs and little plains that outline the valley. With such a picturesque location setting the backdrop for this historical landmark, Lorain County has taken steps to secure the bridge’s future.
In 2014, discussions arose regarding some much-needed repairs to ensure the bridge’s future. “It actually came down to it needing to be closed or restored,” says Lee Tansey, who served as the bridge engineer for the Lorain County Engineer’s Office during that time. With funding for rehabilitation secured through a federal grant, as well as support from Erie County, Lorain County moved forward with the project.
“With a structure like this being so old, there isn’t a textbook that you [reference] to come up with solutions,” says Tansey, crediting the Mid-Ohio Structures LLC contractors for much of the project’s success. “They really cared about rehabilitating this bridge and took the time and had excellent input into the changes we had to make.”
A little more than a year of rehabilitation work ensured that the bridge — with its boxy, wrought-iron truss, crisscross angles and wooden deck — would be safe for people and non-heavy vehicles to traverse.