New I-475 westbound off-ramp opens to ProMedica Parkway

The Ohio Department of Transportation opened the ProMedica Parkway exit from westbound I-475.
The Ohio Department of Transportation opened the ProMedica Parkway exit from westbound I-475.

Another I-475 reconstruction milestone — this one relatively minor — passed Tuesday morning when the Ohio Department of Transportation opened the new westbound exit at ProMedica Parkway.

The ramp directly replaces the Jackman Road/Central Avenue exit, which closed in late July to allow the final stages of its construction.

It’s the third of four ramps at ProMedica Parkway to open, and ODOT spokesman Theresa Pollick said the last one — the eastbound entrance — is expected to open by shortly after Thanksgiving.

“They’re trying to get it done in about two weeks,” she said.

ProMedica Parkway is the renamed Oatis Avenue, which as part of the $64 million freeway reconstruction between I-75 and Rushland Avenue is to be extended northeast from Central to create a connector linking Central and Upton avenues with an I-475 interchange in between.

The interchange replaces four scattered ramps serving the Central/Upton/Jackman area that no longer met Federal Highway Administration design standards. The Jackman exit was particularly troublesome because it was very close to the I-475 junction with I-75, requiring abrupt lane changes for some motorists seeking to use it.

Once the eastbound ProMedica entrance opens, the only I-475 ramps that will remain closed are the Monroe Street entrance to the eastbound lanes and two ramps at Jeep and Willys parkways.

The Monroe ramp is to remain shut until late next year, even though it is not being worked on, because it joins the freeway at a point where traffic is shifting to enter the work zone. The Jeep/Willys ramps connect to I-475 at the I-75 interchange and are blocked by on-going construction there.

But while all of its ramps will soon be open, ProMedica Parkway itself won’t be complete across I-475 until sometime in 2013.

Its bridge’s approaches and abutments are done, but its center pier could not be built until I-475 traffic was shifted to the rebuilt and widened right lanes, which has only occurred in recent weeks.

All major work associated with the I-475 reconstruction is scheduled for completion about a year from now.