Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala took the first official drive over the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge just after 8 a.m. this morning to christen the new span.
Larry Wright, owner of Wright Heating and Cooling, chauffeured the mayor across the span with Carol Sue Fiala, the "first dog" of Kent, Annabel, and Wright's granddaughter, Katie Kulis. Wright drove his 1931 Model A Ford across the bridge — the first "official" car to use the span.
Shortly after the ribbon cutting, workers started removing the road barriers and police started directing traffic onto the new bridge.
The Crain Avenue Bridge will close permanently to traffic starting today.
The new bridge may be opening, but the project is far from finished.
The next step in the project is demolition of the Crain Avenue Bridge, which the new bridge was designed to replace. A new, pedestrian-only bridge will be built in place of the old bridge and will carry The Portage Hike and Bike Trail across the Cuyahoga River and underneath the Fairchild Avenue Bridge. The pedestrian bridge also will serve to carry water, sewer and other utility lines beneath the Crain Avenue Bridge.