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Bridges in Jefferson County, Ohio

Kara Bernhart, P.E., became the Bridge Engineer for Jefferson County in 2014.  Kara graduated from Youngstown State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering Technology, and has been with the County since 2008.

Totals:  The Jefferson County Engineer’s Office is currently responsible for 217 bridges located throughout the County; 122 on County Roads, 88 on Township Roads, and 7 in municipalities.  The bridges range in length from 10 to 418-feet.  Smaller span structures are typically steel pipes, concrete slabs, or concrete box culverts; while the majority of the larger spans are concrete or steel beam bridges, or trusses.

Inspections:  Each structure is inspected on an annual basis.  Supplemental inspections following a natural or accidental occurrence are also completed as needed.   The five general responsibilities of inspections are:  1. Ensure public safety; 2. Protect the public investment; 3. Identify and assess structure needs; 4. Provide accurate structure records; 5. Fulfill legal responsibilities.  During inspections, the structures are also given a general summary rating.  The current bridge status can be summarized as follows:

Condition Rating Total Structures Percent
Good 7 – 9 85 39%
Fair 5 – 6 112 52%
Poor 0 – 4 20 9%


Those numbers have improved significantly since the Needs Analysis completed in 2015, during which time only 27% were considered in ‘Good’ condition and 23% had a ‘Poor’ rating.


Posted Bridges:  The Federal Highway Administration requires all bridges longer than 20 feet to be load rated.  A load rating determines the weight that a bridge can safely carry, and compares that weight to established legal truck weights.  Bridges that cannot sustain legal loads are posted for reduced weights.  The County currently has 24 posted bridges on its system.  To see a map of the posted bridges, click here.


Future:  In 2017, the County Engineer dedicated a significant amount of funding to our bridge program.  Our goal is for all bridges that are currently rated a 4 or less be repaired or replaced by 2020.  Innovative and cost effective repairs or replacements will be stressed.  In 2014, the County implemented an in-house bridge maintenance crew.  With a team of County personnel dedicated only to bridge work for the spring and summer months, we are able to rehabilitate structures to increase their lifespan and replace simple structures at a more affordable cost than hiring an outside contractor.