McCord Rd. Underpass project begins weeks before school starts - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

McCord Rd. Underpass project begins weeks before school starts

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After decades of planning and financial setbacks, construction is set to begin Monday on a project to ease traffic congestion and improve the safety of a deadly railroad crossing.

The McCord Road Underpass project in Springfield Township is expected to be completed in 2016. 

13abc is looking into what parents and students can expect as they head back to school in a few weeks.

Lane restrictions are possible after Labor Day as crews build temporary tracks next to the current ones so trains can get through during construction. McCord Road won't isn't expected to be completely closed to traffic until spring of next year.

100 trains roll through the McCord Road crossing every day.

"The congestion is very bad and most people don't realize that they're predicting the train traffic will double over the upcoming years,” says Lucas County Engineer Keith Earley.

One train photo-bombed Friday’s ground breaking for the $23 million dollar underpass project.

"When the project is completed, you won't hear the horns, you'll still hear the trains, and people will be able to move back and forth seamlessly,” says Todd Audet, the Deputy Director of ODOT District 2.

In two years the roadway will go under a railroad bridge.  Plus, a roundabout will be in place at the intersection of McCord Road and North Mall Drive/Hall Street, which is between Springfield High School and Wal-Mart.

Until then, the Superintendent of Springfield Local Schools Dr. Michael O’Shea is urging patience.

"Communication will be the key,” says O’Shea.

O’Shea expects business-as-usual when students start going back to school on August 21st.

"I think the immediate effect won't be noticeable,” says O’Shea. “As construction proceeds, though, there will be some inconveniences to be sure."

When the portion of McCord Road is closed for 90 days beginning in the spring of 2015, O’Shea is planning alternate routes for kids who walk to school or drive.

Because of detour delays, buses may pick up students earlier.

 "That day in 2009 is still vividly etched in my memory,” says O’Shea.

This project moved up on the state priority list after a Amtrak freight train hit two kids as they walked to school.

Cody Brown died.  Bri Mullinger lost a leg.

"It's our hope now that the project will ensure that kind of thing doesn't happen again,” says O’Shea.

If you have questions or concerns about the project, ODOT and Lucas County engineers will be holding an informational meeting on Monday, August 4th at 1 p.m. at the Lodge at Strawberry Acres. That's located at 950 S. McCord Road in Holland.

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