March 13, 2012- Otway, Ohio - Efforts lead by Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman and
others continue to work to save the Otway Covered Bridge, Scioto County’s last remaining structure of this type.
The historic landmark that is listed on the National Register was built in 1874 and was in use until 1963. In 1974
the structure was completely restored by the Village of Otway, however ravished by time and a small tornado in March of 2012
the iconic bridge in danger of being lost.
Efforts to save the bridge began in earnest in 2011 and lead to the
awarding of a $285,025 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in August of last year to repair and upgrade the Otway
Covered Bridge. However in order to receive the federal grant some $70,000 in local matching funds are needed to be raised
by the local community.
According to County Engineer Craig Opperman in an article by Wayne Allen that appeared
in the March 5, 2012 edition of the Portsmouth Daily Times regarding the local match, “As far as funding things that are going to happen, things look very
positive. It’s a matter of what we can do, depending on what we are going to be allowed to do and what funds I can use
and where funds are coming from.”
“Funds may be coming from all different directions on this, for the local match.
The federal portion is set, the government has committed $285,025 for this project,” Opperman said. “We have an
issue with the local match portion because, we have a steel truss next to the bridge that’s not in good shape and we
want to try to do something with that at the same time. We want to try to make the whole structure passable.”
Opperman said he and others are working on a lot of
different aspects to this project.
covered bridge is going to get funded. What we are going to be able to do for other things, that’s still up in the air.
Things are progressing in the right direction,” Opperman said.
Part of Opperman’s efforts to raise the money for bridge restoration was to have the county take
over the ownership of the structure. In 2012 the Scioto County Commissioners approved a resolution to transfer ownership of
the Otway Covered Bridge to the county.
According to Opperman, similar resolutions were passes by the Village of Otway and Brush Creek Township.
“Throughout our process of trying to figure out
how to fund this thing, we’ve uncovered the Otway Historical Society owns the bridge, but not the adjoining ground next
to it. In order to facilitate grant funding opportunities presently and in the future, we’ve worked with the village
of Otway and Brush Creek Township on trying to get a road dedication through there, which will help facilitate funding options,”
He said each agency involved has passed a
resolution as an agreement on how the bridge will operate.
“This agreement gives control to the Scioto County Engineer’s Office to maintain
and take care of this bridge and facilitate this project. As the main governing agency in the county, we will be the ones
to maintain the structure and will be inspecting it annually,” Opperman said. “We will be putting it on our inventory
with shared jurisdiction”.
is going to work together to try to preserve this roadway,”
If you would like to donate to the effort to save the Otway Covered Bridge please send
your tax deductible donation to:
Covered Bridge Fund
C/O Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail
P.O. Box 536
Portsmouth, OH 45662
For more information contact Norval Davis at 740-372-8320, Mike Seaman at 740-372-8888, or Jack Orlett at 740-259-5747
or visit the groups Facebook pages “Otway Historical Society and Otway Covered Bridge”.