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Published: Wednesday, 12/3/2008

Utility work proceeding for closure of I-475 span

Workers build a utility bridge over I-475 just west of the Douglas Road overpass. The project means traffic delays in the area. Workers build a utility bridge over I-475 just west of the Douglas Road overpass. The project means traffic delays in the area.

When utility companies arrange to lay their pipes or cables underneath public roads and bridges, they do so with the understanding that relocation might be necessary during construction projects.

Such is the situation with AT&T fiber-optic cables running under the Douglas Road bridge over I-475 in West Toledo - a bridge that the Ohio Department of Transportation will demolish and replace, beginning in May, as a prelude to future freeway widening.

Since late October, the telecommunications company has been building its own bridge for its cables to bypass the Douglas bridge.

The work has required nighttime lane closings on I-475, along with a temporary traffic shift to the right in both directions to provide workers ample room to erect a single-pillar pier in the freeway median.

The pier has been completed, and for six hours today I-475 will be restricted to one lane each way at Douglas while lane stripes are repainted to restore the normal traffic pattern, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced.

The Monroe Street entrance to eastbound

I-475 also will be closed during the work hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and ODOT advised motorists to expect significant delays in the area.

The stripe painting was scheduled on short notice because of unpredictable weather in Toledo this time of year, ODOT spokesman

Theresa Pollick said.

More nighttime lane closings are likely later this month when the utility bridge's concrete deck is poured, the ODOT spokesman said.

AT&T expects to begin installing its cables next month, which may also require lane restrictions, she said.

The telecommunications company is paying for the structure's entire cost, including the cost of shifting freeway traffic, Ms. Pollick said.

Douglas is scheduled to be closed for five months while its bridge is replaced.

I-475 widening between Douglas and I-75 is scheduled to begin in 2011.

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