Ombudsman: Construction leaves local drivers with nowhere to turnWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you haven’t had to take a detour or you haven’t gotten stuck in traffic then you haven’t been driving around Northwest Ohio.
I talked with Theresa Pollick, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), District 2 in Bowling Green, and she had some news (good and bad) about two projects that might be costing drivers a few minutes during their commutes.
A portion of the Maumee River Bridge Project at Interstate 475 and U.S. 24 will be finished in November. Right now, drivers cannot use the ramps from both directions of U.S, 24 to southbound I-475.
Pollick said the bridge (built in the 1960s) is being “redecked” after years of patching led to a decision to redo the whole thing. The construction crew is also working on some substructure work like bridge painting.
“We are repairing that half of the bridge over this fall,” she said.
But just when drivers get accustomed to traveling on the ramps from U.S. 24 to southbound I-475, that luxury will end in March. Starting that month, the northbound portion of the bridge will be repaired as drivers once again won’t be able to use the ramps from U.S.. 24 to southbound I-475.
Pollick said the closure is the best solution for a project that reduces traffic down to one side of the road on an interstate with that much traffic. Usually, ODOT would erect an additional lane during construction, but because this is a bridge, ODOT cannot just build another bridge, she said.
The March portion of the bridge project won’t be finished till November 2012.
But there is some good news without any caveats. A project on the same side of town is winding down. The I-475/Salisbury Road-Dussel Drive improvement is mostly complete, minus some finishing touches like timing of traffic signals and a little pavement work here and there.
“We carefully timed this project (Maumee River Bridge) with construction on Salisbury-Dussel and the new U.S. 24. By the time U.S. 24 opens to traffic next summer, the bridge work and Salisbury Dussel will be done and congestion should be greatly reduced in this area,” Pollick said.