The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is getting $4.2 million for repairs, including several bridges which have been closed for years. Cuyahoga Valley National Parks' spokeswoman Jennie Vasarhelyi says one of the most visible projects here involves replacing the Old Carriage Trail bridges, which have been closed since 2009 due to structural problems.
“The material choice for those bridges turned out not to be a good choice. It was self-weathering steel. That is, as it rusts, it gets a thin film of rust that’s supposed to protect the structural steel. Unfortunately it didn’t work that way, they just kept rusting.”
Vasarhelyi adds that not all of the maintenance is due to the combination of age and Ohio’s sometimes-harsh winters.
“You never know what’s going to happen. The Brandywine Gorge Bridge trail that was damaged – that bridge was a fairly new bridge. And there was a storm that did the damage to that. So those are things that we can’t predict.”
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park's total deferred maintenance is $40.8 million, which Vasarhelyi says does not include cyclical maintenance such as repairing roofs and painting. The entire 33,000 acre Cuyahoga Valley system was the 11th most-visited national park in the country last year.