Businesses, drivers prepare for MLK Bridge to close for months

Businesses, drivers prepare for MLK Bridge to close for months

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - In just two and a half weeks, the main artery from Downtown Toledo to east Toledo will close for almost two months.

It came as a major scare back in May when city leaders were contemplating closing the bridge then, the closure was pushed back to the fall, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating for some drivers.

"There is a ton of construction everywhere in Ohio and this is just going to be another headache," said Jacob Middaugh, a Toledo driver.

The bridge must close for more than 45 days.

This is a part of the Toledo Waterways Initiative, connecting under the bridge to a sewage storage basin. The city says the bridge must be closed for Toledo Waterways Initiative work to install an 84-inch pipe connection a combined sewer overflow to a 5.2 million-gallon storage basin under Industrial Park.

City leaders originally thought they could do this without totally closing the bridge. They even considered leaving one lane open allowing drivers to go into east Toledo from Downtown. The original plan was to tunnel underneath Main Street, but now works have to have to open it up and go almost 40 feet down to lay the 84 inch pipe.

The plan was changed for safety and engineering reasons.

This will push drivers to use the Anthony Wayne Bridge or Craig Street to get across the river.

Some drivers say they are going to be hesitant to visit the Docks on their lunch break, without a quick way to get there. But, the General Managers for both Zia's Italian and the Real Seafood Company say they are gearing up for the construction and see it as an opportunity.

"We're not discouraged by it, we're encouraged by all of the things we are doing to try to get guests down here," said Kelly Becker, GM for The Real Seafood Co.

Becker believes they may be able to even attract customers that don't normally go there and her neighbor agrees.

"We're going to be doing a lot of good promotions, a lot of specials each day to help bring in business, our patio is still going to be open, with a great view of downtown," said Elizabeth Hay, General Manager for Zia's.

Both general managers say they believe neighbors will seek out their restaurant and will find a way to get there.

Zia's is offering a different special every day of the week and Real Seafood will have their Lobster Fest happening the entire month of October.

"Lobster fest is a big event for us here at the Real Seafood Company, and we have other specials going on as well, so we are just going to look to get the word out to make sure guests know how to get to us so it isn't an inconvenience for them to get to us at all," said Becker.

The closure is expected to begin on September 24, after the Frogtown Regatta.

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