"There's a lot of it," says Joseph E. Shaw, P.E., P.S., City of Sylvania Deputy Director of Public Works, while referring to road work in Sylvania this year. "It's going to be a busy summer."
The street repairs, road closures, and lane restrictions in Sylvania begin when the calendar flips over to June. The signs have already gone up on Monroe Street, alerting drivers to the bridge repair that starts June 1, 2021.
The bridge repair is the result of normal ODOT annual inspections in 2017 that revealed the bridge was declining.
"Concrete is not perfect over time. It does hold up longer than asphalt, but it is subject to freeze/thaw and deterioration," says Shaw. "All you need is one crack to start, and it introduces water that can get down into the metal and cause rust, and that’s what you see in the photo, spalling and cracking. This is why we’re addressing the problem."
Shaw says that the necessary bridge work is only superficial.
"There are no safety concerns with the bridge at all," Shaw reassures residents. "If you see any exposed steel it may look menacing, but its not a safety factor at all. What we’re doing now is cleaning up all the bad concrete on the deck and on the sides, down to the good solid material, and then the concrete that we put over top is a super high-strength bonding material. It’s different than what you would pour in a residential driveway. It looks the same but has different properties to it. It will seal up the bridge for another 40 or 50 years before any more repairs are needed."
The bridge Sylvanians drive over today was built in 1961, when the state department of highways recognized that with the new expressway interchange coming in, all nearby surface streets would need an upgrade also.
"It hasn’t been touched in all that time except for some minor patchwork," affirms Shaw. "It lasted 60 years without any maintenance work needing to be done, and the work we are doing now is just cosmetic."
Shaw says that they will not be digging down deep into history with the Monroe Street bridge work, unlike they did with the 2018 Main Street project.
"When we did Main Street in 2018, we only had to go down two feet but we pulled out eight boulders that were six-feet in diameter," Shaw recalls. "They were just old boulders that had been there for eons by the creek bed, but they were buried and the road was on top on them. Unfortunately, they were in the way of the storm sewers we were putting in so we had to bring in a crane to remove them. I couldn’t believe it when we pulled those things out, it was pretty incredible. They had been underground for a long, long time." (see boulders photo)
Shaw says that they had expected to find traces of the old interurban electric railway in that project, but did not. Just the ancient boulders, and some of the old bricks from when Main Street was brick pavement.
"I kept one of the bricks, it’s up in my office," shares the Deputy Director. "It’s really old, and you don’t see bricks like that anymore. These are big, thick bricks."
While the Monroe Street bridge is surface work only, there is some deep digging slated for other upcoming projects.
"That Monroe Street bridge is just surface work, it will not go down to the foundation," explains Shaw. "Unlike the Silica Bridge that is slated for a complete overhaul in 2023."
At that time in 2023, they will be be digging deep, and it's anyone's guess what they'll find around the Ten Mile Creek near Northview, in the area known to Sylvania old-timers as "Under the Bridge."
The City will also be doing more digging a bit sooner, this summer along Central Avenue, McCord, and Sylvania Avenue.
"There will be a lot of road closures," Shaw warns. "Unfortunately, the system we need to replace runs right down the center of the road on McCord Road."
The City is doing the first phase of a large diameter sanitary lining project. All of the sewage that leaves the city goes to the county system, and it leaves through that area, underneath McCord road, in a 42-inch pipe. A 2017 conditions assessment on the system found that this downstream section under McCord was some of the worst Sylvania had, and it needed to be replaced.
"You probably won’t see it that much, but some traffic control will be in place," advises Shaw. "The reason is that you have to pull all of that out of the ground, and bypass pump it out so you can have a dry pipe, then while it's dry lay the new material. You’ll see a lot of pipe just laying on the ground that will look kind of funny. Because of that, there will be a lot of maintenance of traffic that has to be done."
Shaw said that a definite date for the Central-McCord-Sylvania project has not been set.
"We’re trying to get them to start in mid-June, it’s not confirmed but we’re hopeful," says Shaw. "But if we can’t start in June, then we’ll start in September. The project itself will last about six weeks."
When a date has been set, his office will coordinate with ODOT, the traffic engineer, and police and fire about traffic control, and the public will be notified with all the details.
For now, the Monroe Street closing will likely give residents more than enough to deal with as they drive around town, enjoying the summer sights of Sylvania.
As of Monday May 17, residents are receiving ample warning of upcoming road closures. In the City's construction plans, it is mandated that these portable signs be contactor-provided, thus freeing up the City to use their own portable signs for things like Festirama and parade route street closings.
"They do work and are very effective," Joe Shaw says of the portable signs. "They are the single biggest piece that generates phone calls, and gets people's attention. It's a very effective tool."
Monroe Street bridge work, June 2021.
Monroe Street bridge work, June 2021.
The new drip irrigation system will replace the City employees' task of manually watering the flowers that beautify Sylvania streets.
Shown here are two smaller boulders, after eight large boulders measuring about six feet in diameter were discovered and removed. The boulders were estimated to have lined the banks of the Ten Mile Creek for centuries before being paved over in the early 20th century. They were all removed in 2018 for the new sewer system that runs under Main Street in front of Sautter's Market.
View the official Monroe Street Bridge Repair Press Release:
View the official Monroe Street Bridge Rehabilitation Presentation:
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