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Published: Wednesday, 7/10/2002

Deck reconstruction, bridge widening to restrict traffic on Airport Highway

Like the land development around it, the construction zone on Airport Highway in Springfield Township continues to sprawl.

Beginning Monday, deck reconstruction and widening of the bridge over Wolf Creek will restrict traffic to one lane in each direction between McCord Road and Fairborne Drive, which is west of Holloway Road.

During the course of this work, construction crews will add a third lane to the eastbound side of Airport west of McCord, although that new lane will not open until the Airport Highway reconstruction is finished - November, 2003, at the soonest.

Since early May, the Airport bridge over I-475/U.S. 23 has been down to one lane each way for deck reconstruction. Last month, preparatory work along the Fairborne-McCord stretch restricted eastbound traffic, but both west|bound lanes remained open.

The only recent improvement for motorists in the area has been the July 2 reopening of Aiport/I-475 interchange ramps that had closed in mid-May for reconstruction - but that's been a mixed blessing.

While freeway travelers no longer face detours, the ramps' reopening has increased the congestion on Airport at the interchange.

So far, "traffic flow has been decent, given the volume that normally uses Airport Highway," said Joe Rutherford, a spokesman at ODOT's district office in Bowling Green.

But Mr. Rutherford said he expects more motorists to use alternate routes around the construction zone, and into the Spring Meadows shopping area, once the work area expands next week. The transportation department has scheduled a meeting for 1 p.m. Friday at which it and contractor Miller Brothers Construction will provide area business people with an update on the project's status, discuss upcoming work, and answer questions.

The meeting is scheduled at the ODOT field office, 7300 International Drive, Suite 100.

When the $9.1 million project is done, Airport Highway will have six lanes instead of four, plus turn lanes between I-475/U.S. 23 and Holloway Road, and the freeway interchange will be reconfigured to eliminate hazardous merges.

Miller Brothers has until November, 2004, to complete the work but has told ODOT it expects to complete all major construction by November, 2003.

During each year that construction occurs, the state's contract requires that all lane closings end by Nov. 11, to avoid interfering with holiday shopping traffic.



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