Portion of historic Stonelick Covered bridge collapses, next steps to be determined

County engineer: It was an extremely close call

STONELICK TWP., Ohio – A portion of the historic Stonelick Covered bridge on Stonelick-Williams Corner Road collapsed Tuesday as construction crews worked to rehabilitate it.

Four construction workers were on the bridge at about 2:30 p.m. when the shell of the bridge caved. The cause of the collapse remains under investigation.

No injuries were reported and the bridge remains closed, officials said.

"It was an extremely close call," said Clermont County Engineer Pat Manger.

Manger will meet this week with a Columbus contractor to evaluate the situation and determine what steps should be taken next.

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Stonelick Township Trustee John Handley said he had to see the aftermath of the bridge collapse to believe it.

"It kind of makes me sick to my stomach. It's a real shame," Handley said. "It was scary. Now it's laying in the creek. It was eerie."

The Stonelick Township Bridge was built in 1878 and is the only covered bridge in Clermont County.

The bridge was closed in May of 2010 after a dozen floor joists were damaged by a truck crossing the span.

“Everyone in Clermont County loves this bridge,” said resident Catherine Rush-Ossenbeck in 2010 when the bridge closed. “It's a symbol of our county and we want to preserve the historic beauty of it."

Repairs were estimated to cost $1.2 million at the time and would have been completed in 2012 if the money was available.

If members of the community want the bridge to be rebuilt, Handley said he is confident it will be -- even though Tuesday's collapse means that cost will be even higher.

WCPO's Natasha Williams and Web Editor Holly Pennebaker contributed to this report.

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