Saturday, August 04, 2001

Truck-battered I-75 stretch getting new top coat

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The ruts and grooves that have made Interstate 75 in Cincinnati such a bumpy ride are about to go gentle into that good night.

        Nighttime paving of the four-mile stretch of I-75 from Interstate 74 to the Brent Spence Bridge begins Monday.

        The $1.1 million Ohio Department of Transportation project will continue through Sept. 30. No daytime lane closures are expected, but one or two lanes will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

        To alleviate nighttime backups, work on the northbound lanes will not start until two hours after the completion of events at Cinergy Field, such as Reds games.

        The grooves in the pavement were caused, in part, by a sharp increase in truck traffic because of the temporary truck ban on Fort Washington Way, ODOT spokeswoman Kim Patton said.

        Lowell Petty, 57, of Williamstown, Ky., drives I-75 every day while delivering masonry equipment for Northside-based Jacob & Sons. He welcomes the temporary inconvenience.

        “It's rough,” he said as he filled his F700 diesel dump truck at a Mitchell Street BP station. “There's one spot with real bad ruts in it, right there, the middle lane, and then also just short of the bridge.”

        ODOT did not calculate how much truck use increased on I-75because of the Fort Washington Way construction, nor did it do updated traffic counts in preparation for the project. In 1994, the most recent year available, the average daily traffic count at I—75 and the Western Hills Viaduct was 156,670 vehicles. Trucks accounted for 14,370 of those.

        This week's schedule is: The southbound left lane will be closed at 9 p.m. each night. At 10:00 p.m., the middle lane will close. Both lanes will be open to traffic by 5:30 a.m. One lane of southbound I-75 will remain open each night.


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