Friday, Aug 26, 2016
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Rebuilding I-75 near downtown Toledo to create driving headaches

Get ready for more traffic headaches on a Toledo interstate.

Starting early next month, the roughly 80,000 cars and trucks that use I-75 between Dorr Street and the I-475 split in central Toledo will have to squeeze into just two lanes while an Ohio Department of Transportation contractor rebuilds the freeway.

ODOT's hope is that some of that traffic will find other ways to go -- a strategy it plans to support with Toledo's new programmable message-board system as well as temporary signs as far away as Carey, Ohio alerting travelers to the potential for delay.

The project's overture is expected to begin no earlier than Sunday, when Kokosing Construction Co. of Fredericktown, Ohio starts nighttime repairs to the right lanes and shoulder in both directions through the work zone. Those initial repairs, to be done nightly between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., are to prepare those lanes to be pummeled with traffic while the left lanes and median wall are rebuilt.

But once the initial repairs are done, the work zone will become a full-time affair.

"Sometime in early August" -- depending on how long the set-up takes -- "we'll push all the traffic to the outside lanes," said Dennis Charvat, ODOT's district construction administrator in Bowling Green.

Removing the current pavement, lights, and median wall, rebuilding the drainage system, and starting pavement reconstruction will "take us up to winter," Mr. Charvat said.

But because the pavement cross-section on the rebuilt roadway will be different from what it is now, there will be no way to reopen all lanes for winter.

"We didn't want to close them [the lanes] through the winter -- we'll have nothing going on -- but we don't have a choice. We expect to do the cut-over in May," the ODOT administrator said.

Kokosing, which is to be paid $31,363,219.95 for its work, then will rebuild the outside lanes and interchange ramps -- the latter requiring a series of ramp closings likely to further frustrate downtown commuters.

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