I-71 ramp to Third Street closes for a year Downtown

I-71 ramp to Third Street closes for a year Downtown

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Commuters who take the Third Street ramp from southbound Interstate 71 will have to find a detour for the next year.

The ramp is closing Wednesday night for about one year while crews work to rebuild bridge decks on the northbound and southbound sides of Interstate 71 just north of the Lytle Tunnel in downtown Cincinnati.

Traffic will be detoured to Gilbert Avenue to East Eighth Street to south on Sycamore Avenue to Third Street.

Once the work begins, the southbound lanes will be shifted to the northbound side using contraflow lanes, just north of the Lytle Tunnel. Next year traffic will be shifted to the southbound side of I-71 while crews work on the northbound side.

In addition to the bridge deck replacement, crews will be repaving Interstate 71 over the next year from north of the Lytle Tunnel to the Norwood Lateral.

Arrow boards and/or signs will be in place to alert motorists of the upcoming work zone and ramp closure.

"We understand that it's not the best type of work to be done because of the traffic.  However, it needs to be done," said Brian Cunningham with ODOT.

"The road does need to be repaved especially when you get close to the Lytle Tunnel.  It's terrible," said Dustin Fry who drives that stretch every day.

He, and thousands of others, might be looking for another route because the closures are expected to last for more than a year.

"I have to go on up through the city, take 75.  I grew up in Landen.  I'm a 71 girl through and through," said driver Becca Baum.

During the work, lanes will shift to accommodate traffic. Cunningham tells FOX19 NOW that the southbound work will be done by the end of the year and the northbound work will wrap up sometime next year.

"There's a great volume of traffic that goes through there - between 60 and 120,000 cars a day," Cunningham said.

ODOT officials say the $10 million project is absolutely necessary, and one they expedited to get it done.

"It's falling apart out there.  We go out and patch it and a week later, the patches are holding but everything else is crumbling around it.  This has to be rebuilt," Cunningham told FOX19 NOW.

If you are traveling southbound, there will be a detour from Gilbert Avenue to East 8th Street onto Sycamore and then to Third Street.

For those needing to travel northbound, there is a detour from Main Street to 5th Street to the I-71 ramp in that area.

Follow Denise Johnson on Twitter or FOX19Traffic on Facebook for regular updates as the construction continues.

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