By RYAN DUNN
Ohio Department of Transportation officials on Thursday spelled out the details of an upcoming $10.6 million project to replace the U.S. 224 bridge over Interstate 75 in Findlay and rebuild the interchange.
About 50 people who attended a forum at Owens Community College were told the new U.S. 224 bridge will feature more and wider lanes. Ramps to and from I-75 will be rebuilt.
Work is expected to begin early next month, said Chris Hughes, construction project engineer.
“We’re going to update what’s out there to modern design standards,” Hughes said.
The new bridge will have six lanes, with a left-turn lane in each direction. It will be about four feet higher than the current bridge over I-75, according to the department.
A sidewalk will be added to the south side of the bridge from Broad Avenue to North Ridge Road.
The current bridge was built in 1956 and designed to last 50 years, Hughes said.
A traffic study found about 22,260 vehicles travel each day on U.S. 224. That average is expected to jump to 30,250 vehicles by 2034, Hughes said.
Because the new bridge will be built in halves, U.S. 224 will be open to one lane of traffic in each direction for most of the construction period, Hughes said.
The U.S. 224 bridge will be completely closed during two weekends, one at the end of February and one likely in June, as I-75 traffic is diverted up and down the ramps.
“In effect, the ramp becomes I-75,” Hughes said.
Those closures are expected from about 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.
A U.S. 224 detour will direct motorists along Ohio 12 and Ohio 235 during that time, according to the department.
Construction on the bridge is expected to be finished in the late fall.
Miller Brothers Construction, of Archbold, is the contractor for the project.
Officials cautioned Thursday that this will be a large project with many workers involved.
“We ask folks to slow down and please be patient,” Hughes said.