State officials declared the I-475 reconstruction project in West Toledo “substantially complete” with a ribbon-cutting today at the new ProMedica Parkway overpass, although some ramps won’t reopen until next week and minor touch-up work will continue into next year.
The project, which featured freeway widening and consolidating a hodgepodge of ramps near Central Avenue’s intersections with Jackman Road and Upton Avenue into the new ProMedica interchange, began in mid-summer 2010 and was delayed nearly a year by bad weather and unstable slopes during the 2011 construction season.
PHOTO GALLERY: ProMedica Bridge Parkway opens
“We are moving forward post-haste to do good things across the state, and this is one of these good things,” Jerry Wray, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s director, said during an abbreviated speech atop the ProMedica bridge before he and other state and local officials snipped a green ribbon.
The bridge is expected to open to traffic later today, establishing direct access to Toledo Hospital and nearby neighborhoods from new interchange ramps that had been finished last year.
Shortly before Mr. Wray’s arrival, an ambulance took the long way around, making right turns from the I-475 westbound exit onto ProMedica Parkway, Upton Avenue, and Central Avenue to get to the hospital.
Scheduled to reopen Monday are the eastbound I-475 entrance from Monroe Street and the westbound I-475 entrance from North Cove Boulevard, while the eastbound I-475 exit to Jeep and Willys parkways is scheduled to reopen Nov. 20. All have been closed since construction began.
Originally contracted to E.S. Wagner of Oregon at $64 million, the project’s cost has since edged up to $71 million, which project officials said was the result of 214 change-orders approved during the course of construction.
The largest single cost increase involved stabilizing the embankment along the westbound side near Sherbrooke Road that partially collapsed during heavy rain in April, 2011, after being excavated to build a retaining wall through the area.
The project is the second of three ODOT has lined up to modernize the I-75/I-475 junction, with the final phase, I-75 widening between that junction and Lagrange Street, scheduled to start in 2015 and take three years to complete. The first phase was the replacement of three overpasses that needed lengthening to accommodate I-475 and I-75 widening.