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Published: Friday, 4/1/2005

Ottawa River span work to be done early

Relief is on the horizon for motorists who use the Fred Young Bridge over the Ottawa River between Point Place and Washington Township.

Despite bad weather over the course of the project, and even though traffic won't begin using the rebuilt western half of the Summit Street bridge until today at the soonest, the span's reconstruction still should be finished well ahead of the Oct. 31 deadline, said Brian Zienta, a bridge engineer with the Lucas County engineer's office.

Just how early hasn't been determined, he said. "We're waiting for the weather to break before we set the exact schedule."

Today's switch of traffic from the old northbound lanes to the new southbound lanes, one lane in each direction, depends on dry conditions suitable for striping, the engineer said.

The project's original schedule called for the traffic shift to occur in mid-November, but relocation of power lines got construction off to a slow start last spring.

But rather than slow down, Mr. Zienta said, the project contractor, Harper Structures of Archbold, accelerated foundation and abutment work in the river that originally was to be only partially completed last year, and got it all done.

So while rough winter weather caused a second, mid-January target for the traffic flip also to be missed, the completed river work means that rebuilding the second half of the bridge will be done much faster than the first half was, the engineer said.

The bridge carries an estimated 10,500 vehicles per day over the Ottawa.

Harper Structures' contract is worth $3 million, and is being jointly funded by Lucas County and the city of Toledo, with the county managing the project.

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