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Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 7/20/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Secor, Central reopens to traffic

Intersection’s rebuilding moves $5.5M project closer to completion

BY SAM GANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Construction workers remove orange barrels from the Secor Road-Central Avenue intersection that reopened on Friday. Construction workers remove orange barrels from the Secor Road-Central Avenue intersection that reopened on Friday.
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All lanes of traffic reopened at the Secor Road and Central Avenue on Friday afternoon after crews completed the most recent phase of the $5.5 million Secor reconstruction project.

Cars and light trucks had been restricted to right turns at the intersection since July 8, while trucks and buses were directed to other routes while the intersection was rebuilt.

The reopening makes the project, which began March 9 and involves rebuilding busy Secor between Central and Monroe Street, about 75 percent complete, Mayor Mike Bell said during a news conference near a Starbucks coffee shop at the intersection’s southwest corner.

“It’s going to be really actually a very, very nice portion of our city for people to drive in, and we have fixed what people told us to fix,” Mr. Bell said.

The intersection work was the latest of a series of project phases, which earlier included closing Secor’s I-475 interchange ramps while the street’s six lanes were rebuilt under the freeway.

Other lanes on the street have been closed at different times since March.

Robin Whitney, Toledo’s commissioner of engineering services, said the project is on track to be completed by mid-August, which is well ahead of the Nov. 1 target date.

“The closure of the ramps, although it might have disrupted some traffic flow, that helped us pick up probably three or four weeks on the schedule, just that activity alone,” Ms. Whitney said. “So you can see why sometimes people get frustrated with that, but if you can cut a month out of a schedule for a construction project, it might be worth it.”

Mayor Mike Bell, while greeting street workers after a news conference at Secor Road and Central Avenue, lifts his arms and proclaims, 'It's rare a mayor can stand in the middle of an intersection!'  At left is Matt Mikolajczyk, a construction technician for the city. Mayor Mike Bell, while greeting street workers after a news conference at Secor Road and Central Avenue, lifts his arms and proclaims, 'It's rare a mayor can stand in the middle of an intersection!' At left is Matt Mikolajczyk, a construction technician for the city.
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Steve Hamilton, the city’s project liaison for Secor, said final paving through the entire area will start Tuesday night and is expected to take three nights to finish.

Between today and Tuesday, he said, the rebuilt middle lanes between I-475 and Monroe will be brought up to grade with neighboring pavement and a section of defective pavement on the northbound side south of the freeway will be ground off and replaced.

Some other minor milling and paving adjustments needed for new pavement to be level with that on adjoining sections of Secor also will be made, Mr. Hamilton said.

After Friday, he said, all major paving and lane striping should be finished and all full-time work zones will be over, weather permitting. Some finish work will require short-term work zones for another week or so.

Mr. Bell said the city has spent $150 million to repair more than 200 lane-miles of streets since he became took office in January, 2010.

“This Westgate area is really starting to pick up,” the mayor said. “We just wanted to have a press conference to say thank you to the business owners that had extreme patience with us as we had to be able to get this done.”

Kevin Lent, who owns a Sonic Drive-In on the west side of Secor north of Central, said his restaurant lost about 15 percent in sales while traffic was restricted at the Secor-Central intersection.

He estimated a total decline of just under 20 percent during the entire course of construction.

Mr. Lent said he hopes the finished project will attract more retailers and other businesses to the Westgate area and make the temporary economic setback worth the cost.

“The long-term benefit has to do with the look and overall aesthetic of the area,” Mr. Lent said. “So it’s an infrastructure component.

"A bad road kind of relays a message that this is an area that’s not vibrant and a target and all of that. ... So from that respect," he said, "we’re perfectly willing, and obviously we didn’t have a choice, but accepting to deal with short-term pain for long-term gain, and we definitely think it’s long-term gain.”

Contact Sam Gans at: sgans@theblade.com or 419-724-6516.



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