Swanton opens new overpass on Hallett Avenue

SWANTON, OH (Toledo News Now) - A new overpass for Swanton residents means no more waiting for trains to pass, but it also solves a major public safety issue.

Safety was the biggest issue for people who had to cross railroad tracks every day. The new bridge eliminates that problem.

"It's important for the safety of our community mostly because it was a dangerous crossing," said Sarah Sledz.

Swanton administrator Jon Gochenour agreed.

"Public safety is going to be greatly improved with this overpass," he said.

The Hallet Bridge has been eight years in the making. On Friday, a ribbon cutting and short parade were held to commemorate the milestone.

Residents say the overpass will save precious time with at least 70 trains passing through daily.

"This was one of the most dangerous railroad crossings in northwest Ohio," said Gochenour.

The tracks split the village down the center with the fire station on one side. Firefighters expect response times to improve.

"Now we can access both sides of the town, and the township, and the village, without any delay at all," said Fire Chief Chad Smith.

The dangerous crossing helped the village qualify for federal stimulus money. It cost $7.9 million to build with the village chipping in 5 percent.

Now with an easier way to get around town, there is potential for economic growth.

"You can get to your destination quicker and that improves business around the village and beyond," explained ODOT official Theresa Pollick.

Residents feel the overpass was worth the wait.

"It's nice to have a way to go to get across without having to wait. It's going to be a good thing for us all around," said Sledz.

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