Monday, August 14, 2000

Fort Washington Way reopens

Highway was three years in the remaking

By James Pilcher and Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Opening dates
Easier to drive
Way of the future
Safety issues remain
        While most Cincinnati commuters slept, the first stage of the reopening of Fort Washington Way was completed this morning. After being closed all weekend, the main highway connecting Interstates 71 and 75 reopened at 5 a.m.

        “A little over three years ago, plans for this were on one 8-by-11 piece of paper,” city Transportation Director John Deatrick said as he stood on the Elm Street bridge Sunday afternoon. “Now, it's thousands of pages and most of it's done.”

        All around him, workers in cherry pickers changed overhead road signs on Third Street and plans were set for additional line-painting on Fort Washington Way.

        More than 250 workers worked throughout the weekend, Mr. Deatrick said.

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        Having shared the westbound side of the highway for more than a year, eastbound traffic was switched over to new eastbound lanes.

        Three lanes of westbound traffic also were opened, along with connections from Columbia Parkway (U.S. 50) west to Fort Washington Way and Third Street.

        In addition, Third Street was reopened, switching direction to run east-to-west.

        Trucks also were permitted back on Fort Washington Way, since lanes will be wider.

        A ceremony commemorating the reopening is scheduled for 3 p.m. today at the new Elm Street bridge.

        On Friday, a new Second Street will open from the I-71/75 ramp through Vine Street, along with new bridges connecting downtown to Second Street.

        Later this month, ramps connecting Third Street to I-75 south and Second Street from Vine to Main streets and the Main Street bridge over fort Washington Way will open.

        The total project is costing $314 million.

        Current traffic conditions

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