Repairs to block traffic 8 weeks on Warren County road to I-71

The Wilmington Road bridge over I-71 in Warren County will be closed this weekend.STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD
The Wilmington Road bridge over I-71 in Warren County will be closed this weekend.STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD

The Wilmington Road bridge that crosses Interstate 71 in Warren County will be closed this weekend by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

And next week, about a mile east, Warren County is closing Wilmington Road, just east of the river and multi-use trail, for a wall project expected to take at least eight weeks.

“The closure is dependent on work on the Wilmington Road bridge over I-71, which is being completed by ODOT,” according to a release by Warren County Engineer Neil Tunison.

The bridge is expected to be reopened on Monday morning.

MORE: Warren County unable to find millions to fix roads

“The county’s drilled pier wall project is being done in coordination with ODOT’s bridge work to ensure that the closures do not overlap,” the release said.

Since July, Shelly & Sands Inc. has been repairing the decks on the bridge, as well as bridges on Olive Branch, Clarksville and Harveysburg roads, according to Brian Cunningham, a spokesman for ODOT in Warren County.

The contractor is to receive $5 million for work on the four bridges, according to Cunningham.

Around 5,000 to 5,500 vehicles on average cross the Wilmington Road bridge over I-71, according to ODOT.

Cunningham said work was supposed to be completed by mid- to late October. Now ODOT is shooting for mid-November.

MORE: ODOT spending $5.9 million studying drone use to monitor traffic

“We had to push it back a little bit,” he said earlier this week. “We ran into some weather issues.”

Last week, traffic was reduced to one lane and controlled by a traffic signal. A sign flashed a warning of the upcoming closure.

The weekend closure is the latest in a series since work began in early July. Motorists are to detour using Oregonia Road, North Clarksville Road or Middleboro Road to the south. Ohio 350 also runs parallel, Cunningham said.

“It’s not a real easy detour because of the rural nature,” Cunningham said.

MORE: ODOT ramps up for construction season

Long-term closures had been used to expedite work on the other three bridges. Cunningham was unsure if there would be others on the section leading to north- and southbound ramps onto I-71.

MORE: Injury hill-hopping crash blamed for prolonged bridge closure

W.E. Smith Construction was awarded the $134,725 county contract to build the retaining wall, funded through county road and bridge funds.

The detour for project is to be routed onto Corwin, Olive Branch and Wilmington roads.

An eight-week closure would mean the project should be completed by Dec. 10, weather permitting.

Cunningham confirmed engineers on the two projects talked in hopes of scheduling work to coincide on the two projects as much as possible.

But ODOT was less concerned about the county project, about a mile away and used primarily by local residents, he said.

Officials are hoping both projects are wrapped up before winter sets in.

“We’re getting toward the tail end of the major construction season,” Cunningham said.