With the I-280 widening project in North Toledo winding down, the Ohio Department of Transportation yesterday awarded an $11.5 million contract for the northernmost portion of the Maumee River Crossing package: modernizing the I-75/I-280 interchange.
The bid from Maumee-based S.E. Johnson Cos. was nearly $2 million lower than ODOT engineers estimated the project would cost.
When the project is finished in September, 2004, the ramps from southbound I-75 to southbound I-280 and from northbound I-280 to northbound I-75 each will have two lanes. The ramp from northbound I-75 to southbound I-280 will be realigned so that it merges into its southbound I-75 counterpart from the right, instead of from the left.
The Manhattan Boulevard exit ramp from southbound I-75/I-280 will become a left exit, and the Manhattan bridges over I-280, which have had some of the city's poorest condition ratings for many years, will be rebuilt.
Most construction won't begin until spring, and even then the impact on I-280 traffic will be minimal, Mike Gramza, ODOT's district construction engineer, said.
No work is planned at all on I-75, which was rebuilt through the area during the late 1990s, and there will be only brief closings of ramps linking the two interstates.
Manhattan will be another story. Within a month or so, the street that crosses I-280 just south of the I-75 junction will be restricted to one lane in each direction while two major sewer lines that run underneath it are moved out of the way.
For most of next year and part of 2004, Manhattan will be one lane each way while its two I-280 spans are replaced, one half at a time.
Traffic volume on Manhattan is light enough that the work zone should not be a big problem, Mr. Gramza said.
Some motorists may use Expressway Drive South as an alternate route between Chrysler Drive and Stickney Avenue.
The Manhattan entrance to southbound I-280 - closed since early last year when the widening project began between Manhattan and the Buckeye Basin Greenbelt Parkway - will stay that way awhile longer.
The ramp was to have reopened by Oct. 31, the widening project's scheduled end, but now the sewer work along Manhattan will keep it closed until sometime late this year or early next, Mr. Gramza said.
The entrance will have to close yet again, sometime later in 2003, when reconstruction of the Manhattan bridges' eastbound lanes begins. It will be the fifth year out of six that the Manhattan entrance will be closed for an extended period, since it also was affected by Greenbelt Parkway interchange construction in 1998 and 1999.
Other ramps will be closed for much shorter periods during the project. They include:
The I-280 widening between Manhattan and the Greenbelt Parkway, which began early last year, “should be done by the end of September,” Mr. Gramza said, but the new third lane in each direction won't open to traffic until the I-280 bridge opens in 2005.
The North Toledo widening was the first of the seven contracts that ODOT is awarding for projects associated with the new bridge. Work on two widening sections in East Toledo and on the bridge itself has since begun.
Still to be awarded are contracts for noise walls and landscaping along I-280, and for reconfiguring the Craig Memorial Bridge's approaches, Summit Street, and Front Street for local traffic once the new span opens. The former will be bid next year, the latter in 2005, Mr. Gramza said.