Friday, December 15, 2000

New street named for Berry to open

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The street honoring Cincinnati's first African-American mayor, Theodore M. Berry, will be resurrected Monday, meaning a different drive for users of another downtown landmark — the Roebling Suspension Bridge.

        The new east-west street will connect Walnut and Race streets south of Second Street, replacing the Walnut connection to the bridge.

   Dates for the latest openings for Ted Berry Way and along Fort Washington Way:
   • Eastbound lanes of Fort Washington Way close at midnight.
   • All four lanes of eastbound Fort Washington Way open to traffic before 6 a.m.
   • Ramp from Second Street to Interstate 71 north opens by 6 a.m.
   • Officials hold ceremony to dedicate Ted Berry Way at 10:30 a.m. at corner of Race Street and Ted Berry Way south of Second Street.
   • Ted Berry Way and new two-way Race Street extension south of Second Street open to traffic by noon.
   • Walnut Street connection to Roebling Suspension Bridge closes about 7 p.m.
   • Ramp from Second Street to U.S. 50 (Columbia Parkway) east opens by 5 a.m.
   • City, county and state officials hold dedication ceremony, 1 p.m., pedestrian bridge from Third Street to Cinergy Field.
   Source: City of Cincinnati Transportation Department

        It replaces the old Ted Berry Way, which had been put out of commission by the refiguring of Fort Washington Way. Mr. Berry, who died Oct. 15, is regarded by many as one of the city's most influential figures of the past century.

        “There was never a question that we wouldn't replace it,” said city traffic engineer Steve Bailey. “And we need this new connection because of all the activity down there.”

        City officials have planned a dedication ceremony 10:30 a.m. Monday. The public is invited. Ted Berry Jr. will unveil the new street sign bearing his father's name and will drive the first car onto the new roadway.

        The $4 million elevated street will run both directions, connecting with a new, two-way extension of Race Street south of Second Street. It will eventually connect to Elm Street in front of Paul Brown Stadium, with construction expected to finish on the Elm Street extension to Mehring Way by mid-January.

        The connection between Wal nut and the Suspension Bridge will close late Monday to allow construction for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to begin.

        Groundbreaking on the parking garage beneath the center is set for early spring, with construction slated to start on the $45 million center in early 2002.

        The new traffic pattern will force more traffic onto Second Street. Northbound drivers will be required to turn left (west) onto Ted Berry Way, then right (north) onto the new Race extension, then right (east) onto Second to access downtown by way of Vine and Main streets.

        The Race Street bridge across Fort Washington Way will remain one-way southbound, and will be the main southbound access point for Ted Berry Way and the Suspension Bridge.

        Don Gindling, project manager for the $314 million Fort Washington Way renovation, said Thursday that recent bad weather has not changed those opening dates.

        “Provided we don't get a heavy ice storm, we should be OK,” Mr. Gindling said.


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