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Woodland project behind schedule

It's going to be a bit longer before area residents can drive across the new Woodland Cemetery bridge.

The targeted completion date for the bridge was this past Friday. Work crews are somewhat behind schedule getting the project completed. Their success is largely dependent on Mother Nature, according to Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller.

"The contractors have to pour sidewalks and parapet walls, install the curbs and pave the bridge. I believe that this week they are working on the bridge's pavement and the curb installation," Fuller said.

Armstrong Steel Erectors of Newark began work the new bridge May 30. The project cost $1,186,710.40.

The old bridge was closed 4 years ago after an inspection revealed it was in too bad of condition to handle the volume of traffic that used it on a regular basis. It was built in 1908 and was designed to last 60 years. It was rehabilitated in 1978.

The new bridge will have concrete piers and span, an improvement over the steel and asphalt design of the current structure. It will also be longer, wider and higher that than current one. It will be wide enough for two cars to pass each other and will have a pedestrian walkway.

The new bridge will be approximately 10 to 12 feet higher than the old one. The additional height will raise it above flood stage.

The new bridge has been designed to look old so that it blends in with its surroundings, Fuller said.

Meanwhile, work also continues on Phase 1-A of the Chesapeake Bypass. Ahern and Associates is expected to install base pavement for Irene Road East and for the State Route 607 connector at the bridge. The base pavement for the mainline has already been installed.

"In the next week or two, they will try to get all the base pavement work completed and the intermediate (asphalt) course down over the entire route," Fuller said. "Of course, this is weather permitting. The contractors will continue to work as long as they can and do as much as possible in the weeks to come. There is no date to suspend operations for the season."

The targeted completion date for Phase 1-A was Oct. 31. Fuller said the recent wet, cold weather was to blame for delays on that stretch of roadway as well. The recent Environmental Protection Agency project to remove barrels of hazardous materials from the site also affected work on the project, she said.

Phase 1-A is a two-lane roadway that will take traffic from the 31st Street Bridge to Irene Road.

Phase 1-B, which is scheduled to be up for bid next spring, will extend State Route 7 from Irene Road to just beyond the Fairland East Elementary School. It will take approximately two construction seasons to complete.