Friday, August 11, 2000

Closings precede highway's reopening

Connector will shut down for final touches

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The WAY of the future
Getting Around: a map
Opening dates
Easier to drive
Safety: Issues remain
How it got it's name
Timeline of the renovation
Money: where it came from, where it went
        The final step toward opening the reconfigured Fort Washington Way is the actual closure of the highway and Third Street this weekend.

        Beginning at 10 p.m. today, Fort Washington Way will be closed entirely from before the Lytle Tunnel to the Brent Spence Bridge to allow workers to finish preparations for Monday's 5 a.m. reopening.

        Third Street will be closed between Central Avenue and Broadway.

        “We'll be there full blast all day and all night through the weekend,” Cincinnati transportation director John Deatrick said Thursday.

        To permit local traffic flow south of Fourth Street, Elm, Race, Walnut and Main streets will be temporarily converted to two-way streets. Central Avenue and Broadway will remain open and detours will be posted.

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        On Monday, Fort Washington Way westbound will have three lanes of traffic and eastbound will have two lanes of traffic. The highway will eventually be four lanes in each direction, but that won't happen until the end of the year.

        Also on Monday, Third Street will switch direction from west-to-east to east-to-west. A new exit from Interstate 71 south to Third Street will open, along with the connection between Columbia Parkway west (U.S. 50) with Fort Washington Way and Third Street.

        The opening comes more than two years after construction started on the project. A new Second Street and new connection ramps and bridges open to traffic on Aug. 18.

        Other than hanging signs and painting lines, the biggest task left for this weekend is the removal of several hundred temporary concrete barriers that weigh 5,000 pounds apiece.

        The process is fairly automated, however, with a machine picking them up along the highway “like a stick,” Mr. Deatrick said.

        All the contractors will meet Sunday at noon for a progress report.


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