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Bridge project in Maumee to slow traffic

BEREA, Ohio - The Ohio Turnpike has no traffic lights, but half its Maumee interchange soon will, during a bridge reconstruction project.

Replacing a bridge that carries westbound ramps over the turnpike at the Exit 59 (Reynolds Road/U.S. 20) toll plaza will require alternating one-way traffic for most of 2003, Dan Castrigano, the turnpike's deputy executive director and chief engineer, said yesterday.

The Ohio Turnpike Commission yesterday awarded the construction contract to the S.E. Johnson Cos., of Maumee, which at $2,057,924.65 submitted the lowest of three bids.

The bridge will be replaced one half at a time, Mr. Castrigano said afterward, with traffic using the single remaining lane and regulated by a temporary signal. Barring severe winter weather, he said, work will begin early next year.

No full-time lane closings will be required on the turnpike, but some day-to-day work zones may be needed and on nights when steel beams are taken down or put up, “rolling roadblocks” will be used to create intermittent gaps in traffic, Mr. Castrigano said. “Rolling roadblocks” are set up by teams of Ohio Highway Patrol cruisers that drive in tandem at reduced speed to hold back traffic, a procedure considered safer than bringing traffic to a complete halt at a barricade.

Later next year, the turnpike commission expects to award a contract for reconstruction of Exit 71, the I-280 interchange near Stony Ridge in Wood County. The Exit 71 reconstruction will cost about $18 million and take three years, Mr. Castrigano said.

“That's going to be a tricky one. ... That's one of our busiest interchanges,” he said.

The project will be funded in part by a $202,060,000 budget the commission approved yesterday for 2003. The budget is $5.4 million, or 2.8 percent, higher than 2002 expenditures, and anticipates toll receipts of $183,815,000 to provide 91 percent of the needed revenue. The balance of the revenue comes mainly from plaza concessions and fuel taxes.

Operating costs are budgeted at $92,575,000, a 3.2 percent increase, while the balance will pay for capital expenses and debt payments.

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