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Final Phase of I-77 Widening Project Under Construction

Mon May 08, 2006 - Midwest Edition
Linda J. Hutchinson



Construction began in January on the final piece of the seven-phase $200 million widening of the I-77 corridor.

This final phase, in Canton, OH, is a $40-million project to widen and reconstruct I-77 from West Tuscarawas Street to 13th Street.

It also will include relocation of Harrison Avenue/13th Street from the Harrison Connector to SR-172, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The first four phases have been completed and two phases, in addition to the final phase, remain under construction.

According to Ted Wellman, project manager of general contractor Beaver Excavating Co., a total of five bridges will be built to replace those being torn down to allow for the widening of I-77.

The first, the Tuscarawas Street bridge, which goes over I-77, is already under way. The existing bridge is being removed entirely and will be replaced with a two-span bridge. Completion is scheduled for Oct. 20, 2006. Traffic will be re-routed until this portion of the project is completed.

“Tuscarawas Street is the most heavily traveled road in and out of Canton”, said Wellman.

The biggest obstacle, according to Wellman, is the existing fiberoptic communication and telephone cables under the deck of the Tuscarawas Bridge. They cannot be removed or re-routed.

A temporary bridge structure is being built over the existing bridge to lift and hold in place the cables that are now between the beams under the bridge deck.

Crews will then cut away the deck, build temporary support cables, tear out the remainder of the bridge, reposition the cables and when the new steel is set for the new bridge, “drop the old cables into the new bridge”.

Three other bridges will be built in 2006 and 2007; two over 13th Street and one over Fourth Street. The fifth and final bridge will be built over Nimishillen Creek in 2007.

Traffic is expected to be maintained while the 13th Street and Nimishillen Creek bridges are being built. Traffic will be closed for the duration of the Fourth Street bridge construction.

Wellman expected to have as many as 70 skilled workers on site. Major subcontractors are Keffler Construction, Northstar Asphalt, Miller Cable, M P Dory, and A & A Safety.

Major portions of the work are expected to be completed by 2007, with all work completed by June 2008.

Phases five and six are already under construction in southern Summit and Stark counties. General contractors are The Shelly Company and Ruhlin Company. CEG