Coast Guard Hopes To Fix Stuck Bridge In 3 Weeks

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Coast Guard hopes to complete repairs in three weeks on a railroad bridge stuck in the down position and blocking ship traffic up the Cuyahoga River from Lake Erie.

The Coast Guard said Wednesday that half the repairs -- replacing a damaged steel shaft -- will be completed by March 20. Surface cracks will be repaired next winter during the slow shipping season.

The 48-year-old Norfolk Southern Railway bridge has been stuck since it was closed for maintenance Jan. 28 and cracks were found.

Industries including asphalt and concrete makers depend on raw materials arriving by ship under the bridge at the mouth of the river near downtown.

The repair timetable means about four ships, carrying 140,000 tons of materials, will be delayed. Shipments total more than 1 million tons during busier months.

The bridge is the main Norfolk Southern line through Cleveland, with 60 to 70 trains daily. The trains continue to use the bridge during the repair work.

Norfolk Southern, which will pay for the repairs, offered no cost estimate.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)