Thursday, October 12, 2000

Another lane of FWW to open

Eastbound connections could be eased

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Another lane of eastbound Fort Washington Way should open on Oct. 22, city officials said Wednesday, good news for drivers routinely backed up at both ends of the main trench connecting Interstates 71 and 75.

    The Enquirer is collecting traffic tales of terror, or just plain complaints about anything from the S-curve in Northern Kentucky to that stretch of Interstate 71 between Pfeiffer Road and I-275.
    If you have a story to share, contact James Pilcher at 768-8374 or e-mail or fax at 768-8340. Please include complete name, address and daytime phone.

        “That's where our biggest bottlenecks are,” said Don Gindling, supervising engineer for the $314 million highway renovation. “We'll shut the highway down over the weekend and then open up that Sunday morning in time for the Bengals game (1 p.m.). Hopefully, this will make a difference.”

        Two eastbound lanes are open now, while westbound Fort Washington Way opened with three lanes in August.

        Mr. Gindling and city Transportation Director John Deatrick said all four lanes in both directions should open by year's end, as promised two months ago.

        Work crews are installing decorative concrete wall panels and final finishing remains on the driving surface, the main reason why all four lanes have yet to open.

        The additional eastbound lane will allow two lanes of northbound I-75 traffic to enter the trench from the Brent Spence Bridge, to ease backups that can stretch up through Northern Kentucky. It will also add another lane to the highway entering the Lytle Tunnel, another traffic hot spot.

        Traffic entering from southbound I-75 or east bound U.S. 50 will still be limited to one lane.

        As for Second Street, officials said they hoped to open the stretch between Vine and Main streets by Oct. 18. They had hoped to get the street connected from Elm through Main streets by this weekend, but more delays in pouring concrete have popped up.

        The street was originally to be completed by Aug. 15, but it has been delayed three times.

        The ramp from Second Street to Pete Rose Way and Broadway should be open by the end of October, Mr. Gindling said, while the connections with I-71 north, Columbia Parkway and I-471 are due in November.

        Mr. Gindling said one of the exits might open earlier than the other, but next month was as specific as he or Mr. Deatrick would get.

        Once Second Street and the main trench are completely open, the final connection is I-471 north to westbound Fort Washington Way, which should be open early next year.

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