DEFIANCE COUNTY: Bridge begins to rise from the rubble

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Clinton St. Bridge

Bridge work catches a break

Crews work weekends, holiday to make up time

The following is an update regarding the progress of the Clinton Street bridge project, downtown Defiance. The $8.3 million project will completely replace the bridge which carries state Routes 15, 18 and 66 over the Maumee River. The bridge closed Feb. 25, 2019 for approximately nine months. The project is scheduled for completion July 2020.

What's happening now and in coming days . . .

  • From the rubble, a bridge begins to rise. After a bit of time with not much to talk about because the river was too high to allow work within it, we now have a bridge sighting -- at least parts of it.
  • Crews have worked as many weekends as the weather has allowed and worked over the July 4 holiday to make up lost time after rainfall amounts no one could've predicted delayed some work on the project. Legend has it, this is the wettest spring in 124 years and Lake Erie is up more than 30 inches above normal. 
  • Even so, the crews on your bridge have done remarkably well in making up lost time by completing work out of the river, such as drainage and concrete work along the banks. They've worked weekends and worked the July 4th holiday to gain some time back. We still hope to have traffic back on the bridge late this year. The bridge will not be completed until summer of 2020, but work will occur under traffic.
  • We're back working on the shared use path which will provide bike and pedestrian access beneath the bridge on the north side. That work was substantially halted for two months by the river level. We also had to work around and remove some of the existing sandstone from the 1880s bridge that was in the way. We expect to complete the shared used path in the next couple of weeks.
Piers, ice breakers
  • We want you to be able to speak bridge like we do. So, there are five columns in a pier -- three in the middle and two ice breakers on either end. On the Clinton Street structure, the pier on the south side of the river is referred to as pier 1, the last pier on the north side is pier 4.
  • Since the river level has dropped, the drilled shafts for three of the four piers have been completed.  All the columns for pier 3 have been poured and the concrete columns for pier 4 were poured today.
  • A water quality structure, which essentially cleans up the storm water before it is sent back into the river, is substantially complete. Here, Logan Davis, ODOT project engineer, explains the structure: Water Quality Structure.
  • During the next few weeks we expect to begin forming the pier caps on pier 3 and 4. The caps will top the piers and form the base on which the new bridge beams will set.
Ice breaker
  • As stated, the new bridge will feature ice breakers on both ends of each pier. In this photo, and the one above, the ice breaker is shown being formed.
  • Their purpose is just what you would think -- to break up the ice as it flows toward the bridge to prevent the piers from being damaged. These are being formed on both ends of each pier, even though they're really only needed on the upstream side. The bridge will be aesthetically balanced that way. 
Ferry across Maumee River, 1932
  • If you are interested in the history of Defiance and specifically the Clinton Street bridge, go see Sarah Marshall at the Defiance Public Library. She will show you the Edward Bronson collection of photos which includes many shots of the Clinton Street bridge. It is an incredible collection and we plan to feature some of them here.
  • This one from 1932 shows cars being ferried across the Maumee River. The caption said this occurred while the Fort Defiance bridge was being constructed to replace the old Clinton Street bridge. Was the Clinton Street bridge at one time referred to as the Fort Defiance Bridge? Contact us at if you'd like to chime in.
  • So there's something we ask of you: Please view the bridge progress from a safe vantage point. We've had instances of well-meaning observers wandering well into the zone. No one but officials working on the project should be there. The barriers are there to protect you and to maintain the work zone so workers and equipment may operate. Please -- obey the barriers. Law enforcement is being asked to patrol the zone at various times, including after work hours, to be sure the zone remains free of unauthorized viewers.
  • You can always view the progress from the ODOT camera, or from the Crescent-News camera. Both are located atop Sensory Effects.
  • Here's the latest time lapse video from the project.

On Deck logo

On Deck . . .

questions of curiosity from observers of the project

Q. You had mentioned there would be buoys placed in the water to direct boat traffic through the construction zone. What's the status of that?

A. That is apparently a harder task to accomplish than we thought. It takes a special boat and a very specialized contractor to do that and we've not been able to secure either. So please, use caution if you boat of kayak through the project area. 

Follow the project . . .

Visit the project website and view time lapse video:
Defiance Clinton Street website

View live traffic cameras along the detour route:

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Information regarding the project will be prefaced with #ClintonStBridge

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Information regarding the project will be prefaced with #ClintonStBridge

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Contact: ODOT District 1's public information office
(419) 999-6803; logo

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