By RYAN DUNN
Interstate 75 drivers had few problems last weekend as crews demolished the southern half of the U.S. 224 bridge, officials reported.
When construction workers closed I-75 under the bridge, interstate travelers were diverted onto the exit and entrance ramps at the interchange from Friday night until Monday morning.
Many motorists likely planned for the change as a result of news stories and social media alerts, said Rhonda Pees, a spokeswoman for Ohio Department of Transportation District 1.
Southbound vehicles on the interstate were diverted onto the ramps starting at 11:30 p.m. Friday and northbound vehicles at 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Pees said.
U.S. 224 traffic was detoured onto Ohio 12 and Ohio 235.
The shift continued through the weekend.
The bridge is expected to again be closed in June when the northern half of the bridge is demolished, Pees said.
State troopers said it was a relatively smooth weekend at the interchange, according to Sgt. William Ogden of the State Highway Patrol’s Findlay post.
An inebriated Wapakoneta man was injured Friday evening, before the bridge closure, when he drove his pickup truck into a guardrail near the U.S. 224 exit, Ogden said.
Another driver hit a bump on a ramp and spilled coffee on herself. She drove her vehicle off the road but was not hospitalized, he said.
Ogden said troopers patrolled the area and were pleased with the safety.
“I hope the next one goes just as well,” he said.
The construction is part of the state’s $10.6 million project to replace the bridge and rebuild the interchange.
Workers will build the new bridge in halves. There will be two lanes open on the bridge for U.S. 224 traffic for most of construction.
This is not the first time I-75 traffic in Findlay has been directed onto interchange ramps. Crews did so when the Ohio 12 overpass was rebuilt in 2003, Pees said.
This week, I-75 lane closures are expected to occur from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. on intermittent days, Pees said.
State officials have said they expect bridge construction to be complete by late fall. Miller Brothers Construction, of Archbold, is the contractor.
Those who want to receive direct I-75 updates can contact Pees at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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