The Charles Berry Bascule Bridge was built in the late 1930's and opened to traffic on October 12, 1940. At the time of its construction, it was the world's largest Bascule Bridge. It is now the world's second largest. The 1,052 foot bridge has a bascule span of 333 feet and carries four lanes of US Route 6/Erie Avenue over the Black River, at the City of Lorain's port to Lake Erie, and averages 700 openeings per year. The bridge, previously known as The Erie Avenue Bridge, was renamed on Veteran's Day 1988 in honor of Charles Berry, a Marine from Lorain who lost his life in the Battle of Iwo Jima, and was awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Black River waterway is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard and is a resource for both pleasure watercraft and commercial vessels, including those shipping materials to industries in the City of Lorain, along the Black River.
The bridge was in use for for roughly 48 years before its first major rehabilitation took place in 1988. The bridge's deck, lift motors, drive system consoles, boilers and lighting systems were all replaced during this renovation. TV cameras and monitors and an auxiliary generator were added and the bridge was repainted. Most of the bridge's operations were moved to the west control tower during this rehab. Approximately every ten years the bridge has maintenance and/or major repair work done to various items to upgrade the bridge and its control tower.
Beginning in May 2018, The Bascule Bridge will undergo another major rehabilitation. The project is scheduled to last approximately 18-24 months and will include the following work:
- Repairs to the steel beams at the approach spans and various elements of the trusses for the bascule spans
- Patching and repairing the concrete structure
- Bridge railing repairs
- Replace concrete approach slabs
- Replace approach span wearing surface
- Repairs to stonework on the exterior of the pier buildings
- Complete replacement of the operating machinery for the bascule spans
- Complete replacement of the electrical system and roadway lighting
- New heating system for the maintenance building
- Replacement of the traffic gates
- Painting of the structural steel
The new machinery being installed will have a specified design life of 50 years based on 1500 average annual bridge openings. A temporary operating system will be installed during construction to allow for operation of the bascule spans during removal of the existing mechanical and electrical systems, and installation of the new systems. During construction, traffic will be maintained across the bridge except for brief periods when the structure will be closed to traffic for the instillation/removal of the temporary operating equipment.
US Route 6 will be open to traffic during the following events or periods: Rocking' on the River Concert Events, Lorain International Festival, Fire Fish Festival, and all Holiday weekends. There will be two non-consecutive closures to pedestrian traffic, which will last no longer than four days each.
The bridge will remain open to river traffic from April 1 through December 31. From January 1 through March 31, the bridge will be open to river traffic with 12 hour notice to the U.S. Coast Guard and the contractor.
Cost: $26.3 Million
Contractor: The Ruhlin Company
Start Construction: April 2018
End Construction: December 2019
“The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable Federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carried-out by ODOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated December 11, 2015, and executed by FHWA and ODOT.”