Anthony Wayne Bridge set for long closure

Work on heavily traveled span to last 19 months, residents told

Signs warn of the Anthony Wayne Bridge’s closure for ex­ten­sive re­pairs and ren­o­va­tion, a project that will begin March 17 and continue for 19 months.
Signs warn of the Anthony Wayne Bridge’s closure for ex­ten­sive re­pairs and ren­o­va­tion, a project that will begin March 17 and continue for 19 months.

The Anthony Wayne Bridge will soon close to traffic for 19 months.

The span is about to undergo extensive repairs and renovation, creating a major inconvenience for people who live on both sides of the Maumee River.

For Max Reddish, an East Toledo resident and business owner, the closure will be an annoyance but one that is needed to preserve what he believes is a historic landmark.

“The fact that they are going to work on the sidewalks, lighting, rails, and everything else they do on the bridge will be positive,” said Mr. Reddish, who attended a meeting about the $28.6 million project on Wednesday night. “It will be a minor inconvenience for a year and a half. That is the way I look at it.”

Mr. Reddish is a grandson of Max Reddish, a sporting goods store owner and a Republican Toledo city councilman in the 1950s and 1970s, and a Lucas County commissioner in the 1970s. The elder Mr. Reddish died in 1990.

About 40 people attended the presentation at the East Toledo Family Center on Varland Avenue, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

When the four-lane suspension bridge closes on March 17, the thousands of people who use it for commuting — by car and truck, bicycles, or on foot — will be forced to find alternate routes.

“It will affect me a little bit. The main thing I see with the bridge being closed is rush-hour traffic,” said Mr. Reddish, owner of a printing and T-shirt business on Main Street in East Toledo.

E.S. Wagner of Oregon, which was awarded the project in April, will replace the entire bridge deck, sidewalks, lighting, railings, fence, and expansion joints, and undertake additional work under the structure at the approaches, including repairs to concrete piers and abutments and building new piers to replace existing trusses at each end.

Theresa Pollick, ODOT spokesman, said when that project is finished in September, 2015, the bridge won’t look much different than it does today.

“With this particular bridge, we wanted to be sure to maintain its historical integrity. That was very important to the Ohio Department of Transportation,” she said at the meeting. “As you all know, this bridge is part of the community. This is a landmark. To preserve that is very important to us.”

Also known as the High Level Bridge, the span was built at a cost of $3 million from 1929 to 1931, opening in late October of that year.

About 26,000 vehicles use the bridge daily, which serves as State Rts. 2, 51, and 65.

The project will be the fourth major makeover in the last 50 years for the 84-year-old span.

New tower lighting, bridge deck replacement, upgrades, and painting were done in the early 1960s.

The bridge was repainted in the early 1980s and underwent a deck overlay, suspension rope and expansion joint replacement, and painting from 1996 to 1997.

“This type of structure needs a lot of maintenance and attention to keep up its integrity,” Ms. Pollick said.

Diane Cheek, who has lived in the shadow of bridge at the east approach since the late 1960s, said concrete chunks have been falling from the structure.

She said she can see daylight through the holes in the structure’s decking.

“We need to get this taken care of. I know it will be an inconvenience for everyone. It will be an inconvenience for me too, but that’s my neighbor,” she said.

The Martin Luther King Bridge, Jr., Bridge is likely to be the preferred detour for many people while the Anthony Wayne Bridge is closed.

ODOT’s suggested detour route is the DiSalle Bridge on I-75 to the south.

The Craig Memorial Bridge and I-280 Veterans’ Glass City Skyway Bridge also are options.

Contact Mark Reiter at: or 419-724-6199