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Published: Saturday, 4/16/2011

Orange barrels on the way

ODOT schedules road projects across northwest Ohio

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Widening State Rt. 25 between Poe and Newton roads north of Bowling Green will hardly rank among the biggest projects the Ohio Department of Transportation has undertaken in northwest Ohio, but this year, at least, it may well be one of the messiest.

That’s because the mile-long stretch of the former Dixie Highway has become a sprawling commercial district, with abundant driveway entrances and no left-turn lane to hold drivers waiting for opposing traffic before entering them.

A two-year, $7.7 million Route 25 widening project, featuring creation of a center left-turn lane, will be a major part of ODOT’s $137 million construction and capital maintenance program in eight northwest Ohio counties this year.

“There are a lot of problems with left turns” on that part of Route 25, said Dennis Charvat, ODOT’s acting district construction engineer.

But those same driveways will make the widening project a very complex one for both workers and motorists, similar to other widening and paving work ODOT has done before on Navarre Avenue in Oregon and Alexis Road in Toledo, he said.

Motorists also should expect orange-barrel blooms on U.S. 20 east of Woodville, State Rt. 53 in eastern Ottawa County, and State Rt. 34 in Williams County this year as ODOT contractors move out into the field.

In metro Toledo, most of this year’s major projects should be familiar to motorists, including the ongoing reconstruction of I-475 in West Toledo, the Wheeling Street bridge replacement in Oregon, and the Salisbury-/Dussel interchange project in Maumee.

But come August, the I-475/U.S. 23 bridge over the Maumee River will become a new trouble spot, with full-time lane closings and access from U.S. 24 to southbound I-475 shut off until November and again for about three months in 2012.

Happier news for drivers is that the Salisbury-Dussel project will be finished in the fall, and that quite a few of the projects on the 2011 list are ones for which most work was finished last year, but contractors have to apply finishing touches before they’re officially done.

Redecking two bridges on the Anthony Wayne Trail just south of I-75, which required long-term lane closings last year, is an example of the latter.

Crews have begun repainting the steel on the bridge over Swan Creek, and when the painters move to the span over Collingwood Boulevard, lanes will be closed on Collingwood, ODOT spokesman Theresa Pollick said. But while some final paving is needed near the bridges, that can all be done at night and will occur later this spring, she said.

Progress on modernizing the I-475/U.S. 23 interchange at Salisbury Road and Dussel Drive will require several stages of brief ramp detours as new exits and entrances are tied in.

Cathy Redford, the senior manager of real estate for The Andersons in Maumee, said during ODOT’s news conference on Friday that she was happy with the transportation department’s efforts to keep the Maumee business community up-to-date on the project.

“We’ve just been extremely pleased with what ODOT has done in terms of communication,” she said, adding that among the 16 states where The Andersons has operations, Ohio has been the best by far when it comes to doing construction projects cooperatively.

The modernized interchange, Ms. Redford said, will have many safety benefits for The Andersons’ employees and customers who often use that route, as well as for the general motoring public.

The U.S. 20 resurfacing project, which will cover 11 miles between the east side of Woodville and the Fremont Bypass, will be a design-build project, ODOT officials said. That means that Kokosing Construction Co. of Fredericktown, Ohio, has been given a standard to which the roadway is to be improved and has until late next year to do the work under its $12.2 million contract.

A construction schedule remains to be set, but the project will require reducing the highway, probably in stages, to one lane each way with crossovers.

The planned work on Route 53, costing $3.6 million, will include intersection improvements at State Rt. 163 and resurfacing between Route 163 and Water Street. Ms. Pollick said the work would be scheduled to avoid summer weekends, as both routes are heavy with tourist traffic.

The $5.5 million Route 34 project has already begun, and involves resurfacing between Williams County Road 5 and State Rt. 576 and between State Rt. 191 and the Henry County line, plus bridge repairs.

While the I-475 project in West Toledo has been under way since last summer, ODOT officials Friday announced a slight schedule change.

Instead of keeping the Jackman Road exit ramp from westbound I-475 open until a new exit at ProMedica Parkway is ready, the Jackman ramp will close in mid-September after the Douglas Road exit, now closed for reconstruction, reopens. Mr. Charvat said that will help contractor E.S. Wagner Inc. make up some time lost to construction delays.

The Douglas entrance to eastbound I-475 now is expected to close in mid-May. It and new westbound ramps at ProMedica are all scheduled to open late this year.

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



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