Major project closes busy Maumee River crossing - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Major project closes busy Maumee River crossing

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Prep work is underway on a massive construction project that will shut down one of the main bridges across the Maumee River. The Anthony Wayne bridge, also known as the high level bridge, will be closed to traffic for about two years. Crews are testing the suspension cables right now and that work should be done by January. A few months later the bridge will be closed and that will last through the fall of 2015.

Some local business owners are concerned about what the project will do to their stores, but O-DOT is working to minimize the impact. The Anthony Wayne bridge has connected downtown Toledo to the East side since 1931. In fact, according to O-DOT, the bridge is the only remaining suspension bridge on a state highway in Ohio. But you don't have to look too hard to see why it is in need of a major overhaul.

Right now there are lane restrictions as crews check on the extent of corrosion in the cables. The bridge will be closed to traffic and pedestrians starting next spring as the major rehabilitation project begins. Mike Gramza is with the Ohio Department of Transportation,"Replacement of the existing deck is the main job. There are also a number of steel parts need to be repaired and replaced because of corrosion and the other major work will include replacing the end spans."

A lot of the repair work on the bridge will be done by local iron workers and steelworkers but because of the bridge's design, Gramza says experts have been brought in from out of state, "The experts and consultants we have now have worked on major structures in New York City and around the country. The are experts on bridges like this and we're thankful they're with us through this process."

O-DOT is working hard to make sure the process is as easy as possible for both residents and business owners. Dan Steingraber is the Chairman of River East Associates. He understands the bridge has to be closed for safety reasons, but he is concerned about the effect on local businesses, "It could be potentially catastrophic for small business owners on either side of the bridge, on the east side, in the Oak and Main street areas, in the warehouse district and the near south end. It is important to see these business thrive. It is critical to the fabric of our community."

The Disallle bridge also known as the I-75 bridge, is the official detour. The Martin Luther King bridge is also an alternate route. A contract for the bridge project will be awarded in March. Once that happens and a final schedule is in place, O-DOT will hold public meetings. Click here for all the details about the project.

 

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