ODOT employees train hundreds of feet in the air

WARREN COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - The Ohio Department of Transportation is running a three day climbing school for 16 of its employees to learn how to climb and rappel on Ohio bridges.

It's a dangerous way to practice but the best way to keep Ohio drivers safe.

"To safely inspect this bridge, we want our employees to be safe, hence the training," said ODOT spokesperson Sharon Smigielski.

Trainees are getting good practice on the Jeremiah Morrow bridge, the tallest bridge in the state. Every bridge in the state must be inspected once a year.

Hooking up and setting the safety gear in place is the number one priority for ODOT employee Troy Baker. Baker is learning about all the equipment and safety gear it takes to inspect a bridge, along with what has to checked.

"They check all the flanges, they check the bolts, they check the beams, they check the deck itself for cracks and wear," said Baker.

Dangling hundreds of feet in the air Baker says he feel safe under the I-71 north and southbound traffic over the Little Miami River.

"It's a dangerous occupation. You're hanging on rope and you have to be very careful about what you do because you don't get a second chance," says instructor John McKently.

ODOT Climbing School runs through Thursday and the official inspection of the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge is scheduled in the next few months.

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