Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge will close Sept. 24

 

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge connecting downtown Toledo and East Toledo will be closed for about 45 days beginning September 24, 2018, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz announced today.

The bridge must be closed for Toledo Waterways Initiative work to install an 84-inch pipe connecting a combined sewer overflow to a 5.2-million-gallon storage basin under International Park.

The project was originally to be completed by tunneling under Main Street in East Toledo, which would have allowed the bridge to remain open, but that plan was changed for safety and engineering reasons.

The Toledo Waterways Initiative project on Richard W. Boers Drive (formerly Boers-Boyer Way) in East Toledo - which was reconstructed as part of the International Park Storage Basin project - included multiple delays during tunneling because of the discovery of decades-old buried infrastructure that included material from when the site was a railroad yard. Those same kinds of underground impediments would slow tunneling under Main Street, Mayor Kapszukiewicz said.

Boring samples indicated the same problems that forced the city to halt tunneling under Richard W. Boers Drive also exist under Main Street, the mayor said.

The Main Street project requires that a 15-foot-wide by 30-foot-deep trench be dug perpendicular to Main Street between the eastern edge of the bridge and Riverside Drive in order to install the 84-inch diameter pipe.

The Kapszukiewicz administration previously considered closing the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge beginning May 14 but moved the closure date to September 24 to accommodate businesses in East Toledo like those at The Docks restaurant complex and others that depend heavily on unimpeded traffic over the bridge during the summer months.

The September 24 closure will not impact the popular Frogtown Regatta, which is scheduled for September 22.

The Kapszukiewicz administration is developing a plan to encourage people to continue patronizing East Toledo businesses via a detour to the Craig Memorial Bridge. The city is also working with the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority to make sure pedestrians who use the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge will be able to travel across the Maumee River.

The Toledo Waterways Initiative is a federally-mandated program requiring the city of Toledo to reduce sewage discharges into its waterways. For more information on the program, go to www.ToledoWaterwaysInitiative.com.