Saturday, August 12, 2000

Closings precede highway's reopening

Connector shut down for final touches

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Opening dates
Way of the future
Easier to drive
Safety issues
        Fort Washington Way is closed this weekend from the Lytle Tunnel to the Brent Spence Bridge to allow workers to finish preparations for Monday's 5 a.m. reopening.

        Third Street is 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 have been temporarily converted to two-way streets. Central Avenue and Broadway remain open and detours are 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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