One of the last major milestones in the Ohio Department of Transportation’s $64 million reconstruction and widening of I-475 west of I-75 should be reached this weekend when the concrete deck is poured for the new I-475 ramp to northbound I-75.
Passing that milestone, however, will require shutting the eastbound lanes because the machinery involved will block them, ODOT officials said.
Because the department prefers to avoid complications while pouring concrete, a “dry run” is planned late today “to verify all the elevations and that the equipment works,” said Mike Gramza, the department’s district construction engineer in Bowling Green.
From 10 p.m. today until 5 a.m. Thursday — and again Thursday night into Friday if needed — eastbound I-475 will be blocked at the ProMedica Parkway exit, which will deliver traffic to either Central Avenue or Monroe Street near Toledo Hospital.
From there, motorists can follow a posted detour east on Central to reach I-75 via Jeep Parkway, or head east on Monroe to enter I-75 closer to downtown.
Weather permitting, the actual deck pour is scheduled for Friday night, with Saturday night available as a rain date. For the pour, eastbound I-475 again will close at 10 p.m. and could remain closed until 9 a.m. the next day, which is why ODOT won’t do this on a night when there’s a morning rush hour the next day, the agency said.
Keeping the freeway closed into the daytime Saturday is less than ideal, Mr. Gramza said, “but it could be worse.”
The Douglas Road and ProMedica entrances to eastbound I-475 will close each night at 9:30 p.m.
ODOT officials estimated late last week that the project to rebuild and widen I-475 between I-75 and Rushland Avenue was 80 percent finished.
It includes building the ProMedica interchange in place of four scattered ramps serving the Upton Avenue/Central Avenue/Jackman Road area and replacing the single-lane eastbound I-475 flyover ramp to northbound I-75 with a two-lane bridge.
When work began three years ago, project officials expected to have most major work done by the end of 2012, with just touchups necessary early this year. But record rainfall in Toledo during 2011 set construction hopelessly behind schedule, with construction of retaining walls between Upton and Douglas Road delayed in particular by a collapsing slope on the westbound side.
After the ramp bridge deck is poured, contractor E.S. Wagner will have several other concrete pours, but none is expected to require anything worse than lane closings.
The concrete pours include decks for the new ProMedica Parkway and Sherbrooke Road bridges and a footbridge along the former route of the Toledo Terminal Railroad’s track.
Theresa Pollick, ODOT’s district spokesman in Bowling Green, said the bridges should all be decked by October, and late September to early October is when the lane pattern on I-475 should be shifted so paving of the rebuilt roadway’s surface layer can start.
“Substantial completion,” she said, is expected by Dec. 31, but all lanes could open as soon as mid-November.
The new I-475/I-75 junction ramp’s full capacity won’t be available to drivers, however, until the $175.9 million final phase of ODOT’s I-75/I-475 modernization is finished about four years from now.
The transportation department expects to start work on rebuilding and widening I-75 between I-475 and Phillips avenues in 2015.
Until that work — which will include building a viaduct over Berdan and Detroit avenues, the Ottawa River, and a Norfolk Southern railroad line — is finished, northbound I-75 won’t be wide enough to accept two lanes of traffic entering from eastbound I-475.
Contact David Patch at: email@example.com or 419-724-6094.