FOSTORIA - The first of three overpasses intended to alleviate railroad-related traffic and emergency-response delays in Fostoria opened to traffic yesterday, less than nine months after its construction began.
The Tiffin Street bridge on the city's west side breaches one of Fostoria's so-called Iron Triangles - neighborhoods that could be isolated by trains.
The $4.8 million overpass "will make it much safer for people needing emergency vehicles," Norman Redick, the district deputy director at the Ohio Department of Transportation's Lima office, said after a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday morning.
Mosser Construction of Fremont began building the Tiffin span March 27.
Much of the project's funding came from a $200 million program Gov. Bob Taft announced in 2000 to build bridges at critical locations where busy railroad crossings divide communities and delay emergency responders.
Fostoria, whose junction of three main railroad lines gives it one of the highest train counts east of Chicago, was identified from the beginning as likely to be a major beneficiary of the program.
Construction of two more bridges - one on Loudon Township Road 43 east of the city connecting to a new street into Fostoria's eastern Iron Triangle, the other on Jones Road north of the city - is scheduled to begin in 2008.
Another bridge associated with the program was completed earlier this year on State Rt. 269 in Bellevue, Ohio. Other northwest Ohio locations planned for "grade-separation" projects - either bridges or underpasses - include U.S. 6/State Rt. 101 near Sandusky, McCord Road in Holland, Wales Road in Northwood, and Hallett Avenue in Swanton.
ODOT yesterday announced minor revisions to its plans for the Swanton bridge that include realigning local driveway access near the structure and reducing the extent of nearby noise walls.
A public meeting will be scheduled next spring for comments about the project. Construction is scheduled for 2009.
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