Construction Chaos Complete

When I lived in Detroit, it quickly became a pain to get back home to northern Ohio to see my family and friends because you’d have to go through Toledo. In 2001, ODOT began construction on what is now called the Veterans’ Glass City Skyway Bridge. It takes traffic over the Maumee River.

The cable-stayed bridge is the largest, most expensive single project in the history of the ODOT. It did not open without tragedy, five workers died during construction. A gantry truss on the main span collapsed in 2004. Four workers died and four others were hurt. That halted main construction for 16 months. Earlier this year, another worker died when platform gave way and he fell from the structure.

During construction, traffic was rerouted through all of the large cement supports. You ended up literally winding through a maze of huge columns. It severely slowed traffic to a crawl. Drivers didn’t have much choice but to take their foot off the gas for their own safety. I dealt with the construction almost every trip home during my three years in Detroit.

Now, I have to say it was worth it. Take a look at the picture at the top of this post. It gives Toledo’s skyline a modern update. It is a little scary crossing it. If you don’t like heights, you will probably want to stick to the inside lanes. On the outside lanes you feel as if you’re floating over the Maumee River. This weekend only four of the six lanes were open and they are still finishing up construction on parts of it.

ODOT’s next big project will be the Innerbelt Project in Cleveland. Ohio has to replace the aging span that crosses the Cuyahoga River. This summer, workers replaced a portion of the bridge because concrete was falling from the bridge. NewsChannel 5 reported on this about the project in January 2007:

ODOT chose what is called a single tower cable stay for the new bridge.The new I-90 west bridge will be built north of the current Innerbelt Bridge, which carries almost 130,000 vehicles each day.The $275 million bridge is scheduled to begin construction in 2010 and is expected to wrap up in 2016.The entire project could end up costing more than $900 million.

We have a couple of years before Cleveland’s skyline gets a similar look as Toledo’s.