SIDNEY — The city of Sidney is working to relocate another bowstring bridge to Tawawa Park.
During a special Sidney City Council meeting Monday morning, City Council adopted a resolution to authorize City Manager Andrew Bowsher to apply for a grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program.
The grant is being requested to help pay for the removal, renovation and relocation of a D.H. Morrison bridge from its current location in Auglaize County to Tawawa Park. It is considered an “bowstring arch bridge” by the Ohio Historic Bridge Association, Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier told the Sidney Daily News.
When completed, said Gaier, the bridge would be placed across the mill race that feeds Tawawa Lake, connecting the hiking trail on the south side of the lake to the hiking trails on the opposite side. The footbridge currently in that location is well beyond its useful life, he told council members.
The engineer’s estimate for the project is $881,773.60, of which the city of Sidney would be responsible for 5% of the cost, or approximately $44,088,68. This amount does not include the costs for design and environmental studies that may be required, Gaier noted. The city of Sidney would receive notification of the grant award in spring 2022, with design to be completed prior to the receipt of the funds in 2025.
This application represents a new grant, Gaier said. The city of Sidney received a similar grant for the Zenas King Bridge project, which included removal, relocation and refurbishment. After its completion, the Zenas King Bridge was dedicated in Tawawa Park on Oct 17, 2020.
Mayor Mardie Milligan thanked Gaier and Council member Mike Barhorst, whom also worked together on the Zenas King Bridge project, for their hard work on the Morisson bridge.
When asked about specifics on the Morrison bridge, Barhorst told the Sidney Daily News, “Trail interconnectivity within Tawawa Park is highly desirable. One of the goals of both the department of parks and recreation and City Council has been to replace the aged footbridges within the park with structures that are both handicapped accessible and historically significant.”
“As we continue to work to connect the Great Miami River Recreational Trail (aka the Canal Feeder Trail) with the trails within Tawawa Park, trail interconnectivity will become even more important. We hope to eventually have enough historically significant bridges within the park that will not only benefit recreational enthusiasts, but attract engineering students who have an interest in the history of bridge construction who will be able to see how bridge design changed over time,” the former mayor said.
“D.H. Morrison (1840-188) constructed bridges of wood, stone, iron and steel. Known as ‘Dayton’s premier bridge builder,’ Morrison’s company eventually became the Champion Bridge Company. The bridge council is attempting to save is primarily made of cast iron. So very few cast iron bridges remain today in large part because they fell into disfavor following the ‘Ashtabula Horror’ (Dec. 29, 1876), a railroad accident caused when a train of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway carrying about 160 passengers passed over a cast iron bridge as it failed. It was America’s worst train disaster in the Nineteenth Century,” he continued. “If we are successful in obtaining the grant, the bridge will be placed across the mill race at the east end of Tawawa Lake. I will replace the footbridge at that location that has far outlived its useful life.”
In final business Monday, Council members Steven Klinger and Joe Moniaci were both absent Monday and they were excused by City Council.