The Third Street bridge that spans the Great Miami River near Sinclair Community College in Dayton is now closed for a two-year replacement project.
The Third Street bridge closed beginning today to automobile and pedestrian traffic for the duration of the $18.5 million construction, Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner said.
“We ask that motorists follow the posted detour signs and use caution when traveling, especially in the first few weeks when people are still learning how to go around the construction site,” Gruner said in a release.
The new Third Street Bridge will be widened from four to five lanes and offer 10-feet-wide sidewalks on the north side and 17-feet-wide paths on the other side.
More than 15,000 cars travel on the bridge every day, county officials said.
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The project will replace the original foundation of the bridge. The bridge originally was built in 1904. It underwent a major rehabilitation in 1949 and required emergency repairs in 2010 and 2011. Officials said at the time the bridge was not at risk of collapsing.
The project will be paid for with grants and funds from federal, state and local agencies. ODOT is funding 95% of the Third Street bridge construction through the Local Major Bridge Program, Gruner said.
Beginning in 2014, three meetings were held to get public input on the Third Street bridge.
County officials said these meetings revealed that instead of acting as a connection point between the west and east sides of Dayton, citizens viewed the bridge as a divider. The new Third Street Bridge will be constructed to bridge that gap and bring communities together in more ways than one, Gruner said.
Also known as the Peace Bridge, the span links downtown with many of Dayton’s most historically significant sites, including those associated with Paul Laurence Dunbar and the Wright brothers.
Those historic figures — as well as Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 march on Washington, which is commemorated every year locally with a march over the Peace Bridge — will be recognized in sculptures planned for two of the bridge’s piers that face the recreation trails on either bank, said Gruner.
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“The new bridge will serve as a symbol that ties the two sides of Dayton together,” Gruner said. “It will record the successes of the past, and depict the hopes of the future.”
Eagle Bridge Company is building the bridge.
Those who travel the bridge can check for updates on Montgomery County's website.