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Published: Saturday, 8/14/2004

State Rt. 18 bridge over I-75 near North Baltimore reopens

NORTH BALTIMORE, Ohio - A week ahead of schedule, the State Rt. 18 bridge over I-75 reopened yesterday to the delight of North Baltimore residents and businesses.

Southbound motorists on I-75 had not been able to get to the usually busy Petro Stopping Center or the McDonald's restaurant on the east side of I-75 since the bridge was demolished in April.

"We're excited to see this project come to fruition and be completed ahead of schedule," village Administrator Ken Sauer said. "It means the State Rt. 18 corridor will be open for development and the village of North Baltimore poised to accommodate growth."

State and county officials were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the overpass, a $7.7 million project that's been on the village's wish list for 15 years.

A new bridge was promised as far back as 1989 when Richard Celeste was Ohio governor, but a series of delays - most because of funding - pushed the project back on the priority list.

In addition to building a wider, four-lane overpass, ODOT moved exit and entrance ramps at the intersection and moved two rural roads farther from the intersection to improve access.

ODOT allocated $70,000 for landscaping and other aesthetic improvements that will be completed this summer.

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