The Ohio Department of Transportation last week began the process of removing a towering mound of dirt it dumped at the Woodville Road/I-280 Interchange several years ago when preparing for the Veterans Glass City Skyway (VCGS), formerly known as the new I-280 Maumee River crossing.
The agency had planned to remove the mound upon completion of the VCGS, which was dedicated in June, 2007.
“That was the first site south of that bridge that was state property, so they didn’t have to pay anyone to store it,” Northwood Mayor Mark Stoner said of ODOT. “They told us they were going to store it for about five years, then come and take it all out of there.”
ODOT refers to the dirt mound, near the intersection of Lemoyne and Woodville roads, as “Mount Northwood,” according to Theresa Pollick, public information officer for ODOT’s District 2 office in Bowling Green.
“The intention was to store the dirt excavated from the Veterans Glass City Skyway project until it could be used to fill in the old I-280,” said Pollick.
The current and final VCGS project, known as the Trench project, started in September, 2008, and will continue until November of 2010, according to Pollick. The $21,245,747.53 project involves realigning the Craig Memorial Bridge with Front and Summit streets, filling in the existing I-280 trench and building Tribute Park. Work on the dirt removal is scheduled to be complete once the project is done in November, 2010.
Tribute Park will be a memorial to those who have fallen and all who contributed to the construction of the VGCS, according to Pollick. A crane accident during the construction of the bridge in February 2004 killed four workers and injured four others. Another fatality occurred in April, 2007.
Tribute Park will include bike paths to and through the park. The paths include: from Greenbelt, over Craig Bridge into Tribute Park; a bike lane at Craig Bridge; a path to Tribute Park on the east side of the bridge, another under VGCS; and a path along Front Street.
Fill dirt will also come from the Summit/I-280 Interchange and I-75/I-280 Interchange.
Since 2001, ODOT has stored over 40,000 truck loads of fill as a cost savings measure.
The estimated quantity of dirt at the Northwood location was between 80,000-100,000 cubic yards before work started, said Pollick.
Stoner recalled getting complaints from residents when the 30-foot high mound of dirt first appeared.
“People said `we have a ski slope now,”’ said Stoner. “But I’ll bet there are people who are going to miss that hill because it blocked a lot of noise from the traffic on I-280. Now that people have gotten used to it, they’re going to miss it.”
The site was surrounded by a fence to keep kids from careening down the hill with their sleds, said Stoner.
Pollick said ODOT appreciates Northwood’s patience over the years.
ODOT estimates by recycling this dirt (removing it, storing it, then putting it back), saved taxpayers at least half a million dollars, according to Pollick.
The $234 million VCGS, which carries six lanes of traffic on I-280, replaced the four lane Craig Memorial drawbridge, though the Craig remains open to local traffic.