All Lanes of S.R. 43 Expected to Open Today For Good!
After three years of construction for Fairchild Bridge, life is finally returning to normal for motorists and area businesses.
The pesky orange barrels and huge signs that have seemed a permanent part of the S.R. 43 landscape near the Fairchild Avenue Bridge are finally going away after three long years of construction.
All lanes of S.R. 43, or North Mantua Street, are expected to reopen today as the project moves into its final stages. That should be a big relief for the 23,000 motorists that drive through the intersection daily (according to 2009 traffic data from AMATS).
That also means the left-turn traffic signal allowing vehicles access to the new Fairchild bridge from southbound S.R. 43 will be restored. Kent Police officers have issued hundreds of tickets to drivers making an illegal turn at the intersection.
Kent City Engineer Jim Bowling said Tuesday there's still plenty of work to do before the $20 million project is officially complete, but huge traffic disruptions should be a thing of the past.
“(S.R. 43) shouldn’t close back up again for any duration through the end of the project. It’s unbelievable after three years of construction,” Bowling marveled.
City Manager Dave Ruller's Kent 360° blog post Tuesday had a celebratory tone as he announced the long-awaited S.R. 43 reopening.
"As much as I appreciate the value of new investment in our community, I appreciate it most when it’s done and I’m using it, so I’m pleased to see us passing another significant project milestone this week in the biggest bridge project in city history (and all of Portage County history for that matter)," Ruller wrote.
Remaining work includes final grading, stormwater and landscaping features along S.R. 43, finishing the pedestrian/bicycle bridge at the site of the former Crain Avenue Bridge and its connection to the bike trails on both sides of the Fairchild bridge.
Bowling said his hope is that the brunt of the work will be completed by year’s end, but recognizes that “there might be a couple minor items that would need done in the spring.”
He added that work at the intersection of Crain Avenue, Lake and Water streets should be completed later this year.