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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 8/7/2014 - Updated: 1 month ago

Lane closings on I-75 begin Friday night

ODOT’s $31.4M project will rebuild highway in downtown

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Lane closures on I-75 will begin Friday night. Lane closures on I-75 will begin Friday night.
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I-75 commuters, do you have your alternate routes planned out yet?

After several weeks of preparations, full-time lane closings will start Friday night for the Ohio Department of Transportation’s two-year, $31.4 million reconstruction of I-75 near downtown Toledo.

First to be affected will be southbound drivers, with motorists who enter I-75 from eastbound I-475 being hardest hit.

They’ll have to squeeze into a single lane on the entrance ramp, then merge into southbound I-75’s two lanes before the Detroit Avenue exit, Theresa Pollick, an ODOT spokesman in Bowling Green, said Wednesday.

From Detroit down to Dorr Street, southbound I-75 will have just two lanes where normally there are four after Kokosing Construction Co., the state’s contractor, sets up the work zone Friday night.

“This will be major-impact for those who drive to downtown Toledo,” Ms. Pollick said.

Also closing Friday night will be the Detroit entrance to southbound I-75, which will be shut down for the project’s entire two years.

State officials say it would be just too dangerous to try to merge traffic entering from Detroit into two lanes of heavy traffic on a very curvy stretch of freeway. Ramp traffic will be detoured to the Lawrence Avenue entrance instead.

Northbound I-75 drivers will get the full-time work-zone treatment a bit later, Ms. Pollick said. It will begin either sometime next week or the following weekend, depending on how well Friday night’s southbound setup goes.

As on the southbound side, two lanes will be maintained for through traffic on northbound I-75 in the work area, but ramp traffic that normally gets an add-on lane at the Anthony Wayne Trail or 14th Street entrances will have to merge instead.

During peak traffic hours, that’s likely to cause significant traffic backups both on I-75 and the ramps.

The full-time zone’s setup follows several weeks of preparatory work, during which the contractor’s crews patched and paved the freeway’s right and right-center lanes to ready them to handle all of the more than 80,000 daily cars and trucks that normally spread out over four lanes.

Except for the closed ramp at Detroit, all interchanges will remain open during the project’s first year, but ramp closings are planned during its second half, when the right and right-center lanes are rebuilt.

Early Monday morning, several employees of American Roadway Logistics Inc., a Kokosing subcontractor from Richmond, Ohio, were shot at as many as a half-dozen times by someone in a passing vehicle. The work site was shut down for the night and a company official said the firm might have to withdraw from the project if its employees’ safety could not be assured.

Ms. Pollick later Monday called the shooting “a unique situation to occur on a project” and said ODOT would “closely monitor and work with law enforcement on this issue.” She had no further comment Wednesday.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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