Wednesday, July 26, 2000

It's not peace on Earth, but downtown will do

Pounding of final pile should take place today

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After nearly 8 million clangs that could be heard throughout downtown, Cincinnati's riverfront will finally receive some quiet today when the final pile is driven into the ground.

        “I'm actually going to miss it,” Don Gindling, the city's supervising engineer over the project, said Tuesday. “It was music to my ears, because it meant work was getting done.”

        The silence signifies that the project is nearing completion. The redesigned highway should open sometime this month, along with a newly constructed Second Street and reconfigured Third Street.

        Mr. Gindling said that the new exit from Interstate 75 north to Fifth Street would open Thursday, and the new Sixth Street viaduct that separates traffic heading south on I-75 from that headed across Fort Washington Way should open Saturday.

        The pounding sank nearly 8,000 steel poles weighing about 3,500 pounds each.

        It took about 1,000 strikes to drive one piling 100 feet into the ground. That made for a lot of racket, especially because the pile drivers rarely missed a day since the $314 million project started in August 1998.

        The pilings support much of the infrastructure making up the new highway. Plan ners added the last group over the winter to allow decks over the I-71/U.S. 50 trench at a future date.

        Mr. Gindling said the loudest period of the project came early on, when holes were drilled through 20 feet of solid rock on the east side of the project.

        But he said that from beginning to end, few complained about the noise, which actually could be heard as static over some downtown phone lines.

        “We got a few calls from businesses asking us to work at night, and from some residents asking us to do it during the day because they were trying to sleep,” Mr. Gindling said.

        “But people really were pretty good about it, although I'm sure they're glad it's over.”


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