The pouring of the new Clinton Street bridge in Defiance began as scheduled Friday night.

The pour began on the bridge’s southern end about an hour before sunset, and was scheduled to continue for approximately 14 continuous hours thereafter, according to Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) project engineer Bashar Kanouh.

The first truck from the concrete supplier — Baker-Shindler Ready Mix of Defiance — arrived exactly at 6 p.m. Friday as scheduled.

Kanouh said the pour went forward as planned because of “ideal” atmospheric conditions — no rain, proper temperature, humidity and wind speed. “So we’re in really good shape,” he said at 8 p.m. Friday.

The pour actually began about 15 minutes after the first truck arrived following some initial tests, with the vehicle dumping its concrete into a receptacle attached to a pump and hose. The hose was attached to a concrete finishing machine — mostly noticeably visible to onlookers as a tall crane — that was used to distribute the concrete over a wide area.

The concrete was placed atop rebar that had been installed on the bridge deck from end to end in recent weeks.

By 7 p.m. Friday, two trucks at a time were dumping their concrete into the finishing machine simultaneously. The machine laid concrete from south to north on the deck.

According to Kanouh, a fleet of nine concrete trucks was expected to be continuously shuttled to the south side of the bridge, thus allowing uninterrupted work. And a fleet of 12 trucks was expected to be used when pouring shifted to the north side of the bridge to account for the greater distance to the site, noted Baker-Shindler’s Drew Shindler. (Baker-Shindler is located on the south side of the river on Defiance’s Cleveland Avenue.)

Three concrete pumps were deployed — one on the south side of the bridge and two in separate locations on a stone causeway at river level beneath the structure.

A crowd of several dozen onlookers were on hand when the pour began and continued to watch the proceedings. Several sets of floodlights were used to light up the deck as the work continued throughout the evening.

The new concrete will need about one week to cure, Kanouh indicated, and the wood forms on the deck can be removed thereafter, although this may not happen immediately.

Not long after the deck is poured, he explained, an intermediate course of pavement is expected to be put down — perhaps by mid- to late-October.

After the pour, crews also will work on the bridge’s sidewalks, as well as its parapets as the project continues toward completion, according to Kanouh.

The old bridge closed on Feb. 25 and was removed shortly thereafter.

The project’s general contractor is Great Lakes Construction Co. of Medina County. The company had hoped to open the new bridge around Thanksgiving, but that plan went awry due to a wet spring and fluctuating river levels.

Some of the lost time has been made up by crews working longer hours, but not quite all with an early December opening date planned, according to ODOT.

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