By Denise Dick
By DENISE DICK
A roughly $4.4 million project to improve the interchange from southbound Interstate 680 to the westbound U.S. Route 224 exit ramp also includes raising the height of the U.S. 224 bridge.
The project is set to be advertised for bids in fall 2012 with construction to start in 2013, said Justin Chesnic, a spokesman for Ohio Department of Transportation District 4.
The U.S. 224 bridge will be raised 4 inches — from 15 feet 2 inches high to 15 feet 6 inches — as part of the project.
“The legal limit for a bridge is 13 feet 6 inches,” Chesnic said. “But federal guidelines say it should be 15 feet 6 inches in urban areas and 16 feet 6 inches in rural areas on the interstate.”
The U.S. 224 bridge is considered to be in an urban area.
Chesnic said the heights are based on clearance to allow for vehicles that carry equipment.
ODOT is aiming for the 15-feet, 6-inch height for bridges in the I-680 corridor, Chesnic said.
“We’re not going to redo all of the bridges in the district,” he said. “If a bridge was done 15 years ago, six years ago, and it’s still in good shape, we’re not going to redo it.”
The height will be raised if a bridge also needs other major work such as redecking.
The bridge raising is only part of the plan for the interchange.
“The ramp [from I-680 south to U.S. 224 west] will be moved about 350 feet east,” said Kathleen Rodi, transportation director at Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.
The relocated ramp will form a “T” at Route 224, officials have said.
The new ramp intersection also will get a new traffic signal that will connect with the signal at 224 and Tiffany Boulevard.
The exit ramp also will be widened to two right-turn lanes with overhead signs provided.
A right-turn lane also will be added on westbound 224 to northbound Tiffany Boulevard.
Another portion of the project is construction of a free-flow right-turn lane on the westbound Route 224 approach to the I-680 northbound entrance ramp, with barriers erected to separate the right-turn lane from the intersection.
“It will help eliminate some of the weave,” Rodi said, referring to people who get off of I-680 southbound and head west on Route 224.