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Change expected to help traffic

CHILLICOTHE — Mot-orists who have been plagued by the closure of the Nick Joe Rahall II Bridge will soon breath a sigh of

relief.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has made lane changes in downtown Chesapeake to deal with the overflow of traffic that is filtering through the area as the result of the closure of

the bridge, which crosses from Lawrence County into West Huntington, W.Va.

The bridge was closed last week and will remain closed as ODOT crews perform repairs and upgrades to the bridge deck and bridge ramps to and from the bridge. Lighting and guardrail improvements are also planned.

In an effort to mitigate traffic better at the intersection in Chesapeake, ODOT will change traffic patterns at the approach to the Robert C. Byrd (Sixth Street) Bridge, which is being used by the majority of motorists who cannot use the other bridge. The thru/right-turn lane will be changed to two thru lanes by shifting traffic to the shoulder of the roadway. The dedicated left-turn lane will remain in place.

“While the standard lane assignment allows for only one lane of traffic to access the Sixth Street Bridge, the new set up will give motorists access to the bridge in two lanes, thereby providing for a better flow of traffic and easing the burden of congestion,” said ODOT District 9 Deputy Director James Brushart.

Although these lane changes are being imparted and traffic on U.S. 52/State Route 7 is currently being maintained in two lanes in each direction, motorists are advised that they may still encounter periods of delay through the construction zone.

Motorists are also reminded to exercise additional caution when traveling through the area and while crews are at work.

The new lane assignments are scheduled to be enacted today and the Rahall Bridge will remain closed through the month of June.

The Shelly Company of Thornville, Ohio, was awarded its contract to repair bridges and resurface approximately 14 miles of roadway in the amount of $4.68 million, and the scheduled completion date for all work is Oct. 31.