ODOT plans bridge project over I-680

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Funding already has been secured for a $3.4 million bridge rehabilitation project over Interstate 680 on the city’s West Side.

On Thursday, the Ohio Department of Transportation held a public meeting to let Vestal Road residents and motorists know how the project will affect them. Very few people showed up to voice their concerns.

ODOT plans to improve the Vestal Road bridge over Interstate 680 and replace most of the structure. Crews also will improve sewer drainage in the area during construction and also will make improvements to the Vestal Road and Hazelwood Avenue intersection by improving the turn radius.

The reason for the replacement is tied to the fact that the bridge also will be raised by one-and-a-half feet.

“This bridge was built in 1967, so it’s getting up there. It’s starting to get old and it gets to the point where the cost to raise the bridge would be greater than to just replace it,” said ODOT public information officer Brent Kovacs.

The project would not begin until the Spring of 2016 and is estimated to be completed by that fall.

While construction is ongoing, there will be some travel restrictions for the Vestal Road neighborhood and I-680. Vestal Road will be closed where it crosses over I-680 for at least 180 days.

The plan also calls for improvements to the Hazelwood Avenue/Vestal Road intersection, which will close down part of Hazelwood for about 45 days.

“We do have a simple detour set up for motorists that’s going to take them a mile or a mile-and-a-half out of their way through residential areas,” Kovacs said.

While construction is taking place, there occasionally will be restrictions on I-680 below the bridge.

“We are going to have some various daily lane restrictions here and there. When we’re bringing down the big bridge beams or taking down big chunks of the bridge, we are going to need to take some zones on 680 but nothing permanent or for more than a week or so,” Kovacs said.

Kovacs doesn’t expect much backed-up traffic on the interstate because the zone where restrictions would be in place will be narrow, less than a half-mile.

Kovacs said ODOT may be adding 3 to 5 inches of new asphalt to the roads to accommodate the higher bridge clearance.

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