By LOU WILIN
Lima Avenue in Findlay will be closed to through traffic at the Ohio 15-U.S. 68 interchange for a year, beginning Monday, during reconstruction of Interstate 75 through the city.
Only emergency vehicles will be permitted to go through on Lima Avenue.
Access to the Lima Avenue ramps to Ohio 15-U.S. 68 and I-75 will be maintained, however, the Ohio Department of Transportation said Thursday.
Motorists approaching the Lima Avenue construction area from the Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. side will be able to access the northbound entrance ramp to I-75. If they want to go south, however, they will have to drive north on I-75 to U.S. 224 in order to turn around and head south.
The Lima Avenue exit ramp for northbound Ohio 15-U.S. 68 motorists also will remain open.
Those approaching the Lima Avenue construction area from the Findlay Airport side will be able to access the southbound Ohio 15-U.S. 68 ramp. If they ultimately want to go north, motorists will be able to turn around about two miles to the south at U.S. 68.
The Lima Avenue exit ramp for southbound Ohio 15-U.S. 68 motorists will remain open.
The Lima Avenue changes are being made to give construction crews space to demolish the existing U.S. 68 bridge over Lima Avenue, and build a new bridge and two roundabouts.
The roundabouts, one on each side of Ohio 15-U.S. 68, will be used by through traffic on Lima Avenue, by motorists getting on and off Ohio 15-U.S. 68, and by motorists getting on and off I-75, said Robert White, project engineer for the Department of Transportation.
Some motorists are intimidated by roundabouts, but transportation officials have said not to worry.
“Once you get used to (them), we find statistically they are much safer,” White said.
“It’s always a constant motion to roundabouts. There’s not a stop condition,” he said. “It helps eliminate or reduce the potential for rear-end accidents or left-turn type situations.”
They also are easier to build and maintain.
“You don’t have things like traffic lights and signals. Say a windstorm comes and knocks the lights out,” White said. “You don’t have to deal with that with a roundabout.”
More signs of progress in the I-75 reconstruction will occur in coming months:
• By year-end, northbound Ohio 15-U.S. 68 motorists will directly access I-75 via a bridge.
• The I-75 northbound ramps at Ohio 12 are expected to reopen Nov. 10.
• The flyover ramp for I-75 motorists wanting to travel south on Ohio 15-U.S. 68 south is scheduled to open by Thanksgiving. When the flyover opens, the old loop ramp will close.
• I-75 will have three lanes open for both northbound and southbound motorists from the Blanchard River north by year-end.
• The noise-reduction walls along I-75 will be completed by year-end.
The entire I-75 reconstruction project is on schedule to be completed by fall 2020, White said.
Wilin: 419-427-8413 Send an E-mail to Lou Wilin