The new Waterville bridge opened to traffic around 1:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31. Just two hours prior, locals celebrated the opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Speaking and presenting proclamations were:
- Invocation by Mark Harris, Ohio Masonic Foundation
- Patrick McColley, ODOT District 2 Deputy Director
- Proclamation on behalf of Senator Theresa Gavarone, Senate District 2
- Christa Luttmann, Northwest Regional Liaison to Gov. DeWine
- Congressman Bob Latta, U.S. Rep. OH 5th Congressional District
- Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, U.S. Rep. OH 9th Congressional District
- Representative Derek Merrin, House of Rep. District 47
- Representative Ghanbari, House of Rep. District 3
- Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak
- Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw
- Waterville Mayor Tim Pedro
The last vehicle to travel over the former Waterville Bridge was a bus of kindergarten students heading to school at Waterville Primary, who stopped to wave at the ceremony attendees.
"It was great seeing all the people come out to celebrate the opening of this new iconic bridge," said Pat McColley, ODOT District 2 Deputy Director. "The people, the artistic features of this bridge, and the kindergartners waving really made this a memorable event."
The ribbon cutting ceremony and public open house viewing of the bridge were organized by the City of Waterville, the Waterville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Ohio Department of Transportation, with the coordination of contractor Miller Brothers Construction, Inc.
In coming weeks, crews will begin demolishing the current bridge piece-by-piece. Crews will then finish constructing the outlooks on the northern side of the bridge along the shared use path, which cannot be finished now due to the proximity to the current bridge.
Facts about the Waterville bridge project
- Built in 1904
- Collapsed in 1941
- Due to a steel shortage during World War II, traffic wasn't restored until 1946
- Rehabilitated in 1948
- One of only four truss bridges left on the Ohio state highway system
- Cost: $13 million
- Contractor: Miller Bros. Construction, Inc.
- Began: February 2018
- 45-day closure for roundabout construction in summer 2018
- Anticipated completion: Fall 2020
- One 12-foot driving lane in each direction with 4-foot shoulders
- One protected 12-foot shared use path on the north side of the bridge
- One protected 7-foot sidewalk on the south side of the bridge
- Five observation platforms
- Details unique to Waterville:
- Decorative balusters including Carruth pieces
- Arched fascia panels
- Decorative piers
- Aesthetic light poles to coordinate with the city's existing light poles
- Dedicated left turn lanes in each direction at state Route 64 (Mechanic Street) and N. River Road in Waterville
- Single-lane roundabout at the state Route 64/state Route 65 intersection
- Record rainfall in spring 2019
- Approximately four months of delays between flooding and weather days
- Crews will begin demolition of the old bridge, piece-by-piece
- Project expected to be complete by fall 2020