Monday, March 15, 2004

Bridge construction starts

Drivers map routes to avoid Columbia Parkway work

By Liz Oakes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MOUNT ADAMS - Residents and businesses are bracing for disruptions as a 19-month, $8.5 million construction project on the Columbia Parkway bridge starts today.

About 25,000 drivers use the bridge daily.

The bridge will remain open, but ramps at Martin Drive and Interstate 471 that some residents say they use to get downtown and to Northern Kentucky will be closed.

Debbie Gilb planned to get her 10-year-old and 12-year-old children up about 15 minutes earlier this morning to get to St. Mary's grade school in Hyde Park.

She's also considering finding another grocery store so she won't have to follow detours to drive to Bellevue, where she usually shops.

The road construction is going to be "a little bit of a pain," Gilb said.

Her husband, Dave, a supervisor for the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, works downtown and has already thought about back ways in and out of the hilly neighborhood.

One alternate to Columbia Parkway he plans to use to get downtown: Elsinore Avenue to Gilbert Avenue to Reading Road south.

"It's going to be hard, but there's nothing much you can do," he said.

Libby Ostrow, co-owner of Libby's Deli on St. Gregory Street, said she's worried that the detours could deter visitors, who make up about a third of her business.

"A lot of business people are talking about it," said Lonnie Ostrow, her husband, especially about the need for signs to help direct people to the business district.

The Mount Adams Business Guild has said it plans to spend up to $2,000 to put up permanent signs to help visitors find their way.

Around the block at Crowley's pub on Pavilion Street, manager Tim Crowley said he's not too worried about revenue dropping off.

Visitors make up 75 percent of the Irish pub's weekend business, he said. But during the two years or so that Fort Washington Way reconstruction disrupted Mount Adams access, the effect on the pub was "negligible," Crowley said.



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