More Ft. Washington Way ramps to be closed
Downtown access to be choked

Thursday, July 9, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

FWW Graphic As drivers adjust to Monday's ramp closings on Fort Washington Way, planners are preparing for a new string of closings.

This weekend, the ramps from Main, Walnut and Race streets to eastbound Fort Washington Way are scheduled to close. That comes just days after ramps from eastbound Fort Washington Way into downtown on Vine and Main streets were closed.

Drivers are adjusting, said Don Gindling, the project's construction manager. "Traffic really seems to be moving smoothly." The actual times of the new closing will depend on how the project progresses, but the ramps are slated to close over the weekend.

There were reports of some traffic backed up Wednesday where motorists traveling south on Interstate 75 and north Interstate 71 merge onto eastbound Fort Washington Way, said Linda Roll, a supervisor for SmartRoute Systems Inc., a traffic monitoring firm. And while an accident did cause some delays in the morning, it was mostly smooth driving, she said.

The ramps are being closed as part of a $146.9 million, 2-year project to narrow Fort Washington Way, a busy stretch of highway handling an estimated 150,000 vehicles daily.

Operators of the Metro bus system have already noticed a small jump in ridership, said Sallie Hilvers, Metro spokeswoman. A new Fairfield route to downtown accommodated about 50 round-trip riders Tuesday. On Wednesday, that rose to about 90 riders.

"We are already anticipating more people will get tired of the stress of traffic and take the bus," Ms. Hilvers said. "And 90 fewer cars on the road is at least a start." Metro plans to open several new park-and-ride stops to handle increased ridership.

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