WATERVILLE, OH (WTOL) - ODOT has begun construction on an alternative for the Waterville bridge on State Route 64 in Lucas and Wood Counties. This project will replace the Waterville bridge with a wider bridge, and install a roundabout at the State Route 64/65 intersection.
This week, construction begins on a causeway, or a landing made of rocks, that will go one third to one half of the length of the bridge starting on the Wood County side to work on pier installation. That way, the river underneath the bridge will still be accessible.
Due to EPA restrictions, ODOT has to have this part of the project done by March 15, and then must leave the water uninterrupted for a couple of months before they can get back to work.
"This summer we are expecting a 45 day closure sometime between June 1st and August 15th and that's to avoid the school season and really not affect bus or people taking their kids to school," Public Information Officer for ODOT District 2 Rebecca Dangelo said. "So, this summer we're going to have a 45 day closure and then next summer/fall we are going to have a weekend closure just to tie in the pavement."
To install the traffic circle, there will be that closure of the bridge and intersection this summer, but the new intersection will be open immediately. After one more weekend closure next summer, the new bridge is expected to open by the end of 2019, and the existing bridge will be torn down in 2020.
The new bridge will be located south, or upstream, right next to the existing structure.
During the closures, the official detour is State Route 295 through Grand Rapids, but that is pretty far out of the way for most residents, and heavier congestion on alternate routes is a concern.
Paul Matuszynski lives in Perrysburg and is concerned about traffic in the meantime.
"With all these subdivisions popping up, especially around us, I live in Carrington Woods, and we have houses coming up weekly, daily. So it's definitely going to make quite an impact," Matuszynski said.
He also says he has concerns about a new traffic circle being installed because too often in our area, they tend to be dominated on one side causing further confusion. He remains optimistic, though, that in the long run, both of these improvements will be helpful to our area.
Built in 1904, then rehabilitated in 1948, the Waterville Bridge is one of only four truss bridges left on the state and federal highway system in Ohio.
The decision to put in a new bridge was based upon multiple factors including cost, age, environmental and historical considerations and public opinion and length of the closures.
The estimated construction cost of the project was budgeted for $20 million but is expected to come in around $13 million.
ODOT is also promising that there will be no impact to traffic during the Roche De Boeuf or Apple Butter Festivals.