ODOT seeking input for new Waterville Bridge - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

ODOT seeking input for new Waterville Bridge

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If the Waterville Bridge is part of your commute, the Ohio Department of Transportation needs your feedback.

ODOT plans to replace the Maumee River crossing for State Routes 64 and 65.

Project designers and engineers will be answering questions at a public form on Thursday, March 27th from 4 to 6 p.m. at Waterville Primary School in the Community Room.  The address is 457 Sycamore Lane.

The problem with the Waterville Bridge is its age and condition, according to the state.

ODOT is considering three options for the replacement project.

Leaders are laying out those options on Thursday in order to gather opinions from drivers and nearby homeowners before making a choice.

The Waterville Bridge was originally built in 1904 and rehabbed in 1948.  It's one of only four truss bridges left on the state and federal highway system in Ohio.

"The average bridge life span is around 50 years so obviously this has exceeded that," says Theresa Pollick, ODOT District 2 spokesperson.

In 2017, ODOT plans to begin construction on a new, wider crossing.      

The plan is to also install a roundabout where State Routes 64 and 65 intersect.

One option is to replace the bridge with a new one in the exact same place.  That would mean the Route 64 crossing would be closed to traffic for approximately a year. 

"Option one would require such a long shutdown and the Anthony Wayne School District extends on that side of the bridge," says Jim Conrad, the President of the Waterville Historical Society, who opposes the first option.

The second option is to put the new one right next to the current one.  The crossing would be shut down in that case for more than a month.

"This will make it wider and safer," says Gary Waugh of Waterville. "I just hate to lose the bridge because it's a pretty construction. There's no other one around here like that."

The third option is to build a new one that would angle across the river to Farnsworth Road. That option means the crossing would be shut down for two weeks.

 "We're also fearful that Farnsworth Road would kind of become a drag strip from the top of the hill to the other side of the bridge with people trying to beat the traffic light down there," says Conrad who supports Option 2, the parallel plan.

Depending on which plan ODOT chooses, the Waterville Bridge Replacement project will cost between $18 million dollars and $22 million dollars.

"We don't really have any particular one in mind ... one better than the other, because all three alternatives are find with us," says Pollick. "What we're really doing today is seeking the opinion of everybody in Waterville and surrounding areas."

Jeanne Johnston of Perrysburg believes the project is a waste of money.

"Right now it's still functional. It's not showing signs of decay," says Johnston. "No one is saying it's unsafe."

ODOT will continue to accept written comments about the project through April 10th.  You can e-mail comments to tricia.hines@dot.state.oh.us.  You can also mail comments to: The Ohio Department of Transportation, District 2, at 317 East Poe Road, Bowling Green, OH, 43402-1330.

After March 27th, displays and handouts will be posted online: http://dot.state.oh.us/districts/D02/Pages/WatervilleBridgeReplacement.aspx.

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