Despite heavy rainfall early in the year, the reconstruction and expansion of Interstate 75 through Findlay and Hancock County still hit major milestones in 2019 to keep the project on track.
The $114 million project is in its fourth and final year and is expected to be completed late this fall.
“The way we phased the work last year, plus a mild winter so far this year, has enabled us to work through the winter on bridges and ramps and keep the project on schedule,” said Chris Hughes, Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 deputy director.
The most notable accomplishments of the project in 2019:
• Three lanes of traffic on I-75 in both directions were opened from Ohio 12 to County Road 99. The lanes also have the final driving surface of asphalt, which originally was not planned to be done until late this year.
• The opening in November of the double roundabouts at the interchange at Lima Avenue with U.S. 68/Ohio 15 marked a significant milestone in the project. The bridge over Lima Avenue that carries traffic to and from I-75 and U.S. 68/Ohio 15 was also completed.
“The new design of the Lima Avenue interchange provides a direct connection between I-75 and Lima Avenue without first merging onto U.S. 68/Ohio 15. This eliminated the odd merge that existed before and provides for safer, more fluid traffic movement,” said Hughes.
The roundabouts also feature a lighted pedestrian sidewalk and will soon have pedestrian-activated beacons.
• The bridge on I-75 over the Blanchard River and a substantial portion of a bridge on I-75 over the railroad near the U.S. 68/Ohio 15 interchange were completed.
• The lanes of U.S. 68/Ohio 15 were reconstructed from its interchange with I-75 to the south end of the project. The final driving surface of asphalt will be placed late this year.
The greatest concentration of work is now occurring at the interchange at U.S. 68/Ohio 15 with I-75.
Construction on the following ramps at the interchange will continue until late fall. Traffic will continue to be detoured north on I-75 to the Ohio 12 interchange and back on I-75 southbound until the ramps are opened:
• I-75 northbound to U.S. 68/Ohio 15
• I-75 northbound to Lima Avenue
• US. 68/Ohio 15 to I-75 southbound
• Work at the Lima Avenue interchange will continue with grading and seeding, and installation of lighting, pedestrian beacons, signage and landscaping. Little impact to traffic is expected.
• The majority of work on I-75 itself is occurring between Harrison Street to the U.S. 68/Ohio 15 interchange where the reconstruction and expansion of the northbound lanes continues. Two lanes of traffic are maintained the majority of time.
All four lanes of I-75 in this section are traveling on the southbound side and will remain in this pattern until late summer. This allows the northbound existing lanes to be reconstructed and a new, third lane to be constructed.
All existing I-75 pavement has been removed and the intermediate pavement placed through this section.
All lanes of I-75 will open late summer.
Work to extend a noise wall on the west side of I-75 from Bigelow Avenue to the south will begin in June and is expected to complete in September.
Major elements already completed include:
• Reconstruction of the Harrison Street bridge over I-75.
• Construction of a new flyover ramp that carries I-75 southbound traffic to U.S. 68/Ohio 15. The flyover eliminated a loop ramp where numerous rollover accidents occurred.
• Reconstruction of all ramps at the Ohio 12 and U.S. 224 interchanges.
• Completion of a service road along Lima Avenue near the headquarters of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
• Reconstruction of the Logan Avenue intersection with Lima Avenue.
• Installation of noise walls.
The project is reconstructing and widening approximately five miles of I-75 from just south of the Harrison Street overpass to the County Road 99 interchange north of Findlay. The project also includes the replacement of all mainline bridges on I-75, replacement of the Harrison Street overpass, the redesign and reconstruction of the interchange between U.S. 68/Ohio 15 and I-75, and the redesign and reconstruction of the interchange with U.S. 68/Ohio 15 at Lima Avenue.
Beaver Excavating of Canton is the general contractor on the project.