Progress continues on the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge, including the planned installation of the bridge beams this week. That should be a sight to see and I’m guessing that when they arrive on an over-sized truck it will likely cause a bit of a traffic tie up — but you knew that already if you’ve been driving around the project site at all in the last couple of months.
The steel beams will add about 5′ of vertical height to what will become the bottom of the bridge upon which the decking and pavement will be added. While it may not be obvious to the casual observer or untrained eye, the new bridge actually has a little more flair than typical ODOT bridges. Because this bridge is such an important gateway into downtown Kent, the first impression it makes is important, so there’s a lot of little touches, e.g., rounded edges, slight curves, arches, decorative fencing, etc. that were designed to make the bridge as attractive as it is functional.
The contractors have finished up some of the road work in front of the old Triangle Cleaners and starting next week they will re-route the traffic to ride on the new section so they can shift their construction activity to the old lane area. Also starting next week, Fairchild Avenue will be closed from N. Mantua to Hudson Road. That closure is going to last through November so it’s a doozy (sp?).
The engineers looked long and hard to see if there was any way to keep that section of Fairchild open while they built all the new street sections that will carry traffic up to the new bridge and it’s just not possible to do that and keep people safe. Safety trumps convenience so we’ll all have to bite the bullet and tell ourselves that its for our own good. I guess the good news would be that they plan to have all the lanes re-opened in time for winter when traffic gets a little trickier anyways.
When Fairchild Avenue is closed on May 10th new detour signs will go up to route traffic around the congestion points. Here’s an excerpt of the public message that will be posted on the City’s AM emergency radio station: “State Route 43 traffic will be moved to the west side of the road and reduced to one lane in each direction between Rockwell and Stinaff Streets, while construction is performed on the east side of the street. For the safety of the traveling public, the intersections of SR 43 with Cuyahoga Street and with Stinaff Street will be closed. Access to all businesses will be maintained, both on SR 43 and on Cuyahoga and Stinaff Streets. This phase of construction is anticipated to continue into October of this year.”
In case your chiropractor bill is growing, the City has been encouraging the County (remember it’s actually a County owned bridge) to fill some of the craters that used to be potholes on the bridge and now that the asphalt plants are open for the season you should see some minor repair activity beginning and give your car and your back some much needed relief.