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Published: Monday, 7/3/2006

Byrne revamp entering final stage of work

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Tight-fitting traffic patterns through construction areas along Byrne Road have been the norm but should level out soon. Tight-fitting traffic patterns through construction areas along Byrne Road have been the norm but should level out soon.
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It was years in the making - and followed years of rough-ride complaints - but the reconstruction of Byrne Road is entering its final months.

Two years after construction began, the busy artery linking the University of Toledo area with the city's southern reaches has been completely rebuilt between Airport Highway and Tedrow Road, and reconstruction of its aging bridge over the Norfolk Southern railroad is nearly finished.

Work continues south of Tedrow and north of Hill Avenue, and a final stage of pavement reconstruction remains to begin between Hill and Airport Highway.

"The new part is awesome, and the part still being worked on is bumpy but will soon be smooth," city Councilman Rob Ludeman, through whose South Toledo district most of Byrne passes, said Friday. "We knew it was going to be a couple-of-years project, but when it's done, it's going to be great."

Starting in July, 2004, Archbold-based Miller Brothers Construction has rebuilt Byrne in sections, starting with the middle piece between Airport and Glendale Avenue. Its three contracts for the work totaled $20.3 million, and city officials said last week that it's too early to know what the final bill will be.

The Glendale-Airport contract was finished last summer, while work started then on work north of Airport and south of Glendale. Work on those two contracts is "going well," said Kent Gardam, manager of transportation engineering for the city division of engineering services.

"There haven't been any unforeseen delays on the project - either of them," he said.

Doug Stephens, the project engineer for the work area north of Airport, said roadway construction between Hill and Dorr is "slightly behind schedule" because of June rain, but "we're looking to make that up and be done by the end of this construction season."

Beyond the routine of lane closings on Byrne, Mr. Stephens said, the big remaining headache for motorists will be reconstruction of the Hill-Byrne intersection. During a four-day weekend still to be selected in August, he said, all traffic approaching that corner will be forced to turn right while the intersection's midsection is removed and replaced.

Intersections at Nebraska Avenue and Dorr also have construction on the horizon, Mr. Stephens said, but "Hill will be the big one."

For the southerly contract, all work north of Tedrow has been completed, and project engineer Julie Cousino said the rest of the road down to Detroit Avenue will be finished by October.

"I think it's going to be a tremendous improvement," Ms. Cousino said.

Mr. Ludeman said his only lingering concern is that the street might get dug up quickly if an underground utility were to fail.

"That always seems to happen right after we finish rebuilding something," the councilman said.

If that happens on Byrne, though, it probably won't involve waterlines between Tedrow and Detroit - the city replaced that part of the water system just before the reconstruction project. The water work meant that the road rebuilding there will finish two months later than originally scheduled, but it made obvious sense to adjust the plan, Ms. Cousino said.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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