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Published: Friday, 8/13/2010

Closing times shortened for major ramps, Douglas at 475 and Trail at 75

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The I-475 widening and reconstruction project in West Toledo is barely under way, but already the Ohio Department of Transportation has announced a schedule change - one likely to make drivers happy.

Instead of closing the Douglas Road ramps late this fall, they will stay open until sometime in late winter or early spring, Theresa Pollick, an ODOT spokesman in Bowling Green, said Thursday.

Ms. Pollick also announced changes to the schedule for bridge reconstruction on the Anthony Wayne Trail that should be well-received by South Toledo commuters.

E.S. Wagner, the Oregon-based contractor for the $63.9 million I-475 project, determined that it didn't need to close the eastbound entrance and westbound exit at Douglas until next year, the ODOT spokesman said. The ramps' planned reopening is still expected in the fall of 2011, so their reconstruction now is expected to take only seven or eight months, instead of a year or longer.

The later, shorter closing means a shorter period during which all entrances to eastbound I-475 east of Secor Road will be closed for freeway widening. It also means the Douglas entrance will remain open long after a city of Toledo contractor finishes rebuilding Secor north of Monroe Street - a project around which Douglas has been a key alternate route.

The Monroe entrance to I-475 already is closed and will stay that way until late 2012. The entrance off Central and Upton avenues now is expected to close late this month, or early next, when eastbound traffic is shifted over to the left shoulder and left lane, once work on the left shoulder is finished.

Westbound traffic was moved onto the inside lanes through the work zone between I-475 and Rushland Avenue yesterday, but the only immediate ramp closing associated with the freeway's westbound reconstruction is the entrance from North Cove Boulevard.

The $3.6 million project to redeck two pairs of bridges on the Anthony Wayne Trail between I-75 and City Park Avenue, meanwhile, is nearing its midway point.

Sometime during the week of Aug. 23, Ms. Pollick said, traffic will be shifted onto the rebuilt right lanes across the spans over Collingwood Boulevard and Swan Creek.

When that occurs, she said, northbound traffic that currently must merge from three lanes to one before City Park will have two lanes open between Western Avenue and the exit to Collingwood, which should ease congestion there.

Also, Ms. Pollick said, the planned closing of the northbound Trail entrance has been reduced from 60 days to 30 and pushed back until October.

"I guess we're saving the best for last," Ms. Pollick quipped.

A posted detour for the closed ramp will follow the Trail to Erie and Washington streets and the 14th Street entrance to northbound I-75.

Collingwood also will be available as an alternate route, although ODOT does not want big trucks to go that way because of poor sight lines at the bottom of the Collingwood exit ramp from the Trail.

Contact David Patch at:

dpatch@theblade.com

or 419-724-6094.



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