Shelly/Sands Construction of Zanesville is doing maintenance work at the Department of Energy overpass and Centrifuge Circle in Piketon near the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
“This is nothing like the widening project (U.S. 23) in Portsmouth,” ODOT Public Information Officer Kathleen Fuller said. “It's just typical maintenance.”
ODOT will close both ramps at the interchange to reconstruct two bridges and widen both ramps.
Although the ramps will be closed throughout spring and summer, motorists can get to the plant from Shyville Road off Ohio 32.
Fuller said there are contingency plans in case of an emergency at the plant.
“We always have a backup plan,” she said. “If something were to happen, the contractor could open the entrance on U.S. 23 and people could evacuate.”
The scheduled completion date is Sept. 30 for the nearly $4 million project.
After spending much of last year resurfacing U.S. 23 in the city, ODOT is now turning some attention to the north of the city.
Shelly Construction of Thornville began the first phase of a four-lane resurfacing project from the city's northern corporation limit on U.S. 23 to the Lockner Road (Scioto County 459) intersection.
The project calls for milling the roadway, paving, replacing guardrail and raised-pavement markers and correcting drainage problems where needed.
The construction area comprises about three miles, and reduced speed limits will be in effect.
During the first phase of construction, workers will begin bridge work at the Clay Township overpass. The highway will be reduced to one 11-foot lane in each direction.
ODOT awarded the $4,646,546 contract to Shelly in December. The scheduled completion date is Oct. 31.
In other ODOT news, Fuller said work on the U.S. Grant Bridge has progressed throughout the winter.
“We haven't stopped,” she said. “Although we did cut back some on the work crews.”
The bridge is supposed to be finished by Oct. 31, after an original completion date of June 2004. ODOT has said the bride will probably open in August, however.
One bridge not opening anytime soon is the proposed new Ironton-Russell Bridge.
Last year, ODOT stopped the project after the construction cost of $109 million exceeded ODOT's allotted $85 million.
Federal law forbids the department from starting jobs that are 10 percent over its estimate.
“It's not completely off the table,” Fuller said of the new bridge. “We're going to build a bridge, just not this one.”
ODOT will instead come up with another bridge design. Fuller said that process could take a year or two.
In meantime, ODOT will continue to maintain the old Ironton-Russell Bridge. Fuller said the department may completely refurbish it.
Fuller said the bridge would last about seven years with no work done to it at all.
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.