Superload Snarls Traffic in Steubenville and Weirton
STEUBENVILLE — A 238-ton superload that was to have made its way through Jefferson County Sunday morning will remain parked on the University Boulevard ramp from eastbound U.S. 22 for the week.
The load was supposed to depart Weirton early Sunday heading west in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 22 over the Veterans Memorial Bridge and on to the Lovers Lane exit, when it was supposed to head up the hill onto Sunset Boulevard and continue west to Hopedale.
The units moving the 310-foot long, 16-foot wide, and 17-feet-4-inch tall load had problems early in the move while in Weirton Sunday morning, eventually crossing the bridge before stopping. U.S. 22 east was supposed to be closed across the bridge to the Main Street exit in Weirton from 4:30-5:30 a.m., and the entire transport time was supposed to take a few hours as a rolling roadblock.
The load didn’t proceed very far from the bridge before the tractor units ran into problems.
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers, Steubenville police and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies spent Sunday morning and afternoon handling traffic control, closing all lanes of Ohio 7 south from Ohio 213 and all of U.S. 22 east from John Scott Highway to the bridge until the superload could be securely parked.
Southbound traffic on Ohio 7 was further impacted for a time by a broken-down tractor trailer at the intersection of Ohio 7 and Ohio 213 at Alikanna.
Traffic was allowed to proceed south and east again around noon, but the ramp where the superload was parked remained closed, restricting bridge access until the load was pulled to the University Boulevard ramp later in the afternoon.
With the load parked on the University Boulevard ramp, traffic heading east on U.S. 22 or south on Ohio 7 that wants to access University Boulevard will have to proceed into the construction zone and make a right at the University Boulevard traffic light.
Access to the Veterans Memorial Bridge is open, but the University Boulevard ramp is closed.
Lauren Borell, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 11, said Sunday afternoon that ODOT, law enforcement and Capital City Crane, which is handling the move, mutually decided against moving the load during the week.
“They could not get the truck fixed and they could not get another one there today,” she said Sunday. “We did not want to move it during the week when it would impact traffic too much.”
She said there was no other safe place to park the load along the road.
The plan is to resume moving the load early Aug. 5 along the same route, which would see it continue west in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 22, up Lovers Lane to Sunset Boulevard and then west into Wintersville.
The load is expected to travel through Wintersville onto County Road 22A, back onto U.S. 22 west and onto Ohio 151 at Hopedale, heading to the MarkWest fractionator on Giacobi Road. ODOT will announce the schedule and route once it is set.
The load is the first of three scheduled in the coming weeks.