LIMA — The reconstruction of Interstate 75 remains very much a work in progress, District 1 Director Kirk Slusher said Friday, but progress is coming.
The project will see several milestones this year, including soon, Slusher told the audience gathered for the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce’s Wake, Rattle & Roll at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.
The next big piece that drivers will notice is the closing of the Breese Road overpass, scheduled to happen by late March or early April.
By May, the work on state Route 309 at I-75 will be complete and by mid-summer, the work at state Route 81 will be finished, Slusher said. Construction is continuing from Fourth Street to state Route 81.
“The project is scheduled to be complete in 2015, but the contractor has a $1.5 million incentive to finish this phase of the project by Nov. 1 of this year,” Slusher said.
Within the next weeks, drivers will see construction on the southern part of the project ramping up. And, Slusher reminded about another stretch of I-75 in a different district. Starting this spring, I-75 from Findlay to Toledo will be under construction for the addition of a third lane.
The $156.2 million reconstruction of I-75 runs from the Auglaize County line to just north of state Route 81. The three-phase project began in 2012 and will continue through 2015. The Ohio Department of Transportation is reconstructing pavement and bridges built in the 1950s and improving safety and capacity. This stretch of the interstate will not have a third lane now, but the new construction will allow for a third lane to be easily added when it is needed.
The reconstruction of two overpasses, Reservoir Road and Fourth Street, are complete. The reconstruction of I-75 from Fourth Street to Bible Road (that also includes work at the interchanges with state routes 81 and 309) began in 2013 and will continue this year. The reconstruction of I-75 from the Auglaize County line to Fourth Street (that also includes work at the interchanges with state Route 65 and Breese Road) starts this year.
Items of note for the third phase of the reconstruction include:
• The relocation of Yoder Road. The road currently runs just north of the Speedway gas station near I-75 and state Route 65. The work there could also mean the relocation of the Speedway, Slusher said. ODOT is negotiating with the company now, and the company may decide to move the gas station because of access issues created by the new construction.
• The interchanges for state Route 65 and Breese Road will be closed for significant amounts of time, at two different times, during the construction. They both can’t be closed at the same time, but each will be closed for months. The Breese Road overpass will be closed for five months starting in late March or early April. When that work is done, the 65 interchange will close. The ramps for the those two intersections will see temporary closures of several days at a time, Slusher said.
• Two curves, at McClain and Hanthorn roads, will be flattened or softened, so that vehicles can maintain speeds and not have to slow down. Both curves don’t meet current design standards and the spots on I-75 see too many crashes, Slusher said.