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Anthony Wayne bridge closes for $28.6M fix

Span is not likely to open until 2015

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Workers set up barricades to the Anthony Wayne Bridge as repairs to the bridge are set to begin. It is the fourth major upgrade in 50 years for the bridge, which also is known as the High Level Bridge.

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The lengthy closure of the Anthony Wayne Bridge began Monday with little apparent confusion.

Todd M. Audet, deputy director of the Ohio Department of Transportation district that serves Lucas, Wood, Fulton, Ottawa, and four other northwest Ohio counties, said the span isn’t likely to reopen until sometime in September, 2015.

The exact date for completion of the $28.6 million project is not immediately known.

“If I knew that, I’d play the lottery,” Mr. Audet said with a chuckle. “It’s a very extensive overhaul of the bridge.”

No unusual traffic tie-ups were reported, although the state transportation department said it’ll take a few days before it has a better idea of how well drivers have become accustomed to the switch.

“I would expect traffic will be normalized in about five days,” Mr. Audet said. “By then, people should be conditioned enough to figure out their alternate routes.”

The four-lane suspension bridge, used daily by an average of 26,000 vehicles, is an important passageway for people who live and work on both sides of the Maumee River.

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.

It will be the bridge’s fourth major upgrade in the past 50 years.

Theresa Pollick, state transportation department spokesman, has said the project has been designed to maintain the bridge's historical integrity.

Also known as the High Level Bridge, the span was built at a cost of $3 million and opened in October, 1931. It took about two years to build.

Through March 26, downtown area travelers also will be without the Craig Memorial Bridge.

The Craig Memorial Bridge has been closed for repainting the last two months, a project delayed because of harsh weather.

The Coast Guard gave the state transportation department a 10-day extension to complete the work and have drawbridge spans capable of being raised for ships that need to pass, Mr. Audet said.

Contact Tom Henry at: thenry@theblade.com or 419-724-6079.

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