Over the past couple of months, construction workers have put in 10- to 12-hour days at the closed Forman Street Bridge to ensure repair work on the span that connects the downtown area to U.S. Route 219 will be ready to re-open by the end of October.
On Tuesday, Nick Cummins, of Bob Cummins Construction Company, said workmen have worked several Fridays to make sure the bridge is completed on time.
“We’re looking real good, we’re anticipating pouring the deck of the bridge next week,” Cummins said. “There’s a 28-day curing time (after the material is poured) and during those 28 days we’ll get all the ancillary stuff done around the bridge. It’s scheduled to open Oct. 20 to traffic.”
Since the closure, traffic exiting Route 219 at Forman Street has only been able to access Hilton Street to enter or leave the Holiday Inn Express via a temporary road. The exit is also open to emergency traffic.
Other southbound traffic on the highway has had to exit at the Bolivar Drive or Kendall Avenue off-ramps to reach downtown, or drive past Forman Street to Owens Way and travel back through the city for the downtown area.
Those who want to access Route 219 northbound from downtown have had to drive alternative routes through the city that involves accessing the on-ramps at Kendall Avenue or Bolivar Drive north of the closed bridge, or the Owens Way on-ramp south of the bridge.
Cummins said the Forman Street Bridge took priority with the company because of the heavy traffic flow to and from Route 219.
“It’s a pretty quick schedule for a bridge, we’re ahead of the schedule and let’s hope nothing happens,” he continued. “We worked three Fridays just to make sure we get done because there is a lot of traffic there and we don’t want to hold anybody up.” He noted the workmen usually work four days a week.
Cummins said the company has also worked steadily to complete other bridges in the county.
“We’re setting the Gilbert Bridge tomorrow,” Cummins said, explaining the pedestrian bridge has been built and will be lifted and set in place by a crane across the spillway of the Gilbert Reservoir.
Other bridges that the company is working on include a bridge in Garland in Warren County and a bridge on Route 59 by Bradford Airport, which opened Friday and had a final inspection Tuesday.
“There is one on the other side of Mount Jewett on Route 6 that is about 10 days from being done and opened,” he concluded.