Former Bristol Townshp railroad bridge on bike trail to reopen
The Trumbull County MetroParks Board has voted to reopen a section of the Western Reserve Greenway hike and bike trail in Bristol Township to pedestrians and bicyclists.
The section, which has been closed since late 2015, is over a sandstone arch bridge once used by a railroad over Baughman Creek.
The MetroParks closed the bridge, which is between Hyde-Oakfield and Mahan-Denman roads, after an erosion problem was discovered beside the bridge.
A study was conducted, and the cost to repair it was estimated at $150,000.
The bridge is about a mile northeast of the center of Bristolville. The closure requires users to take a detour on Oakfield North Road to the east that adds about a third of a mile to the trip.
Zach Svette, MetroParks operations director, said the MetroParks board does not have the $60,000 to $80,000 local match money yet to repair the erosion, but the board was able to secure liability insurance on the bridge, which makes it feasible to reopen it. The erosion repairs have not yet been completed.
The study said the bridge itself is structurally sound, but officials closed it because of concerns about liability in the event someone would get hurt, Svette said.
Large stone barriers were placed at the bridge entrances to keep people from using it. As soon as those can be moved, the bridge will be back open, possibly by July 4, Svette said.
The bridge was built between 1853 and 1864.