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Charles Berry Bascule Bridge rehabilitation

Bridge Preservation

Project Status

  1. Proposed

  2. In Development

  3. Pre-construction

  4. Construction

  5. Completion

About the project

The project will rehabilitate the U.S. 6 Charles Berry Bascule Bridge over the Black River in Lorain County. The project is scheduled to last through summer 2020 and will include the following work:

  • Repairs to the steel beams at the approach spans and various elements of the trusses for the bascule spans
  • Patching and repairing the concrete structure
  • Bridge railing repairs
  • Replace concrete approach slabs
  • Replace approach span wearing surface
  • Repairs to stonework on the exterior of the pier buildings
  • Complete replacement of the operating machinery for the bascule spans
  • Complete replacement of the electrical system and roadway lighting
  • New heating system for the maintenance building
  • Replacement of the traffic gates
  • Painting of the structural steel

The new machinery being installed will have a specified design life of 50 years based on 1500 average annual bridge openings.  A temporary operating system will be installed during construction to allow for operation of the bascule spans during removal of the existing mechanical and electrical systems, and installation of the new systems. During construction, traffic will be maintained across the bridge except for brief periods when the structure will be closed to traffic for the instillation/removal of the temporary operating equipment. 


The Charles Berry Bascule Bridge was built in the late 1930's and opened to traffic on October 12, 1940. At the time of its construction, it was the world's largest Bascule Bridge. It is now the world's second largest.  The 1,052 foot bridge has a bascule span of 333 feet and carries four lanes of U.S. 6/Erie Avenue over the Black River, at the City of Lorain's port to Lake Erie, and averages 700 openings per year. The bridge, previously known as The Erie Avenue Bridge, was renamed on Veteran's Day 1988 in honor of Charles Berry, a Marine from Lorain who lost his life in the Battle of Iwo Jima, and was awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor.

The Black River waterway is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard and is a resource for both pleasure watercraft and commercial vessels, including those shipping materials to industries in the City of Lorain, along the Black River. 

The bridge was in use for for roughly 48 years before its first major rehabilitation took place in 1988. The bridge's deck, lift motors, drive system consoles, boilers and lighting systems were all replaced during this renovation. TV cameras and monitors and an auxiliary generator were added and the bridge was repainted. Most of the bridge's operations were moved to the west control tower during this rehab. Approximately every ten years the bridge has maintenance and/or major repair work done to various items to upgrade the bridge and its control tower. 

Traffic impacts

Week of September 21, 2020 - All outlined work is weather permitting

U.S. Route 6 bridge repairs - U.S. 6, between Washington Avenue and Arizona Avenue, will have daily lane closures as needed to complete work. Vehicular traffic has returned to its pre-construction pattern. Pedestrian traffic will be maintained on either the north or south sidewalk depending on the work and will be clearly marked. Estimated completion: September 2020

View Project's Public Comments ()

Public comments regarding our projects are always welcome!

This section is for frequently asked questions and project-related questions. You may notice that some projects require one or more formal comment period(s) with deadlines for comments to be considered during certain phase(s) of the project development process. Typically called the “public comment period," this is when ODOT asks the public for input before an important decision needs to be made, such as choosing a preferred alternative. You may notice these periods generally occur immediately following a public meeting.

All comments received, regardless of when or how they are submitted, will be reviewed and considered and/or responded to by the ODOT project team. Comments received through this forum will, when appropriate, be publicly posted along with ODOT’s response; Such comments will be moderated to remove personal information prior to posting.

Please let us know if you have questions, and thank you for your interest and input on the project! 

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