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Historic covered bridge collapses

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Published on Feb 12, 2014

STONELICK TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- Clermont County's historic covered bridge collapsed Tuesday afternoon while four workers were on the span. The bridge on Stonelick-Williams Corner Rd. started to sway at 2:30 p.m. Three construction workers and one county worker were not hurt. Much of the bridge lay in a heap of wood and metal in a creek. To roll into a situation like this and find out there were four guys on that and everything's in the creek and we don't have nobody injured, it's a miracle, said Stonelick Twp. Fire Chief Matt Rose. The red bridge was undergoing a major restoration. It was damaged in 2010 when a garbage truck that exceeded the single-lane bridge's weight limit crossed, causing structural damaged. Neighbors lobbied Clermont County to preserve the bridge rather than replace it. Saddened and curious neighbors went to the bridge to survey the damage. It just made me mad. I can't believe that they didn't take care enough that it's fallen over now, said Gene Conroy. He said the bridge was part of the reason he and his wife bought their home nearby. You don't come across a covered bridge that you can drive across very often, Conroy said. Catherine Rush-Ossenbeck lives at the foot of the bridge. She was working in her home office when she heard the bridge collapse. It was a hugely loud crash. The noise seemed to last several seconds, then it was total silence, Rush-Ossenbeck said. Rush-Ossenbeck and her husband were part of a group of neighbors that lobbied to restore the bridge. They wanted the historic parts of the bridge such as the Howe trusses to remain. Neighbors said workers have been dismantling the bridge to repair it. They're wondering whether that contributed to the collapse. Somebody screwed up, Rush-Ossenbeck said.The workers will return to the site Wednesday morning. They were a little bit shook up but you know I actually told one he should play the lottery. He's a lucky man to walk away from that, Chief Rose said. Rose said the bridge debris will have to be cleared soon. There's a concern that it could block the water flow in the creek when the snow starts to melt and flooding could result. The covered bridge was built in 1878. It's the last one in Clermont County.

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