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Published: Tuesday, 2/20/2007

Concrete is poured for 1st drawspan on the King bridge

Construction crews yesterday poured high-density concrete for the counterweight on the first of four sections for the new drawspans of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge, two days after the section was installed without complications, a city official said.

Kristin Cousino, the project engineer for the city's Division of Streets, Bridges, and Harbor, said a second drawspan section could be installed within about a week, but she declined to predict yesterday when the bridge might be reopened to traffic.

"We're still a little ways out from opening the bridge to traffic. It'll be sometime before March 15," Ms. Cousino said, quoting the deadline on the city's Coast Guard permit to reopen the Maumee River to marine traffic through the construction site.

The bridge has been closed to street traffic since Jan. 30. At the time, city officials said it would reopen last Friday.

However, almost immediately after the closing, workers discovered that old concrete in the piers to which the drawspans attach was extensively cracked and needed to be replaced.

The closing has cut off a primary link between downtown Toledo and East Toledo.

Detour routes have been posted using the Anthony Wayne and Craig Memorial bridges, with the Craig detour requiring a lane closing on southbound I-280.

Ms. Cousino said the city appreciates the Ohio Department of Transportation's support in setting up the Craig detour and the patience of East Toledo merchants who are suffering lost business because of the bridge outage.

"We're working as hard as we can," the city engineer said.

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