Dairy Queen is among the businesses along Pike Street in Marietta feeling the effects of the Interstate 77/Ohio 7 interchange upgrade that is currently under way.
"We were probably headed for a record month in July until the road work started, and mid-month you can just see it dropped 20 to 25 percent in a day, and it really hasn't bounced back," said Bill Holschuh, owner of the restaurant.
According to Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 spokesman David Rose, mobilization for the $4.15 million project began July 12 and the first lane restrictions began July 23. The project, which is being completed by Shelly & Sands, should be finished by May 2011.
Work on the I77/Pike Street exit
"What the project revolves around is a total concrete replacement and modernization of that entire interchange," Rose said. "It also includes a signal and lighting upgrade and then replacement of the Duck Creek Bridge deck."
This week, crews started hydro blasting the bridge deck, Rose said.
"It's extremely high-pressure water that breaks up the top layer of existing pavement, and it's very efficient because it makes the texture of the road very coarse," he said. "When we put down the new pavement, it adheres to that subsurface much better and will last longer."
Photo submitted by ODOT District 10
A worker cuts a metal brace off the wall of the Duck Creek Bridge. The Interstate 77/Ohio 7 interchange modernization project includes replacement of the deck of the Duck Creek Bridge.
Rose said so far, motorists have only complained about one aspect of the traffic pattern changes, but the issue has been corrected.
"When someone took Exit 1 and turned left to go to Reno, that light was fairly short - usually only two cars could get through - but we've adjusted that," he said.
ODOT project engineer Zach Bazell said in a news release that the department is focused on both safety and efficient traffic flow during the upgrade.
About the Interstate 77-Ohio 7 interchange upgrade:
$4.15 million project.
Includes a total concrete replacement and modernization of the interchange, as well as a signal and lighting upgrade and replacement of the Duck Creek Bridge deck.
Work is being completed by Shelly & Sands.
Projected end date is May 2011.
Source: Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 spokesman David Rose
"We really focused on devising a traffic plan that would lessen travel delays and make traveling as efficient as possible through this very busy intersection," he says in the release. "The current bi-directional traffic will be maintained through September, and we are working on ways to limit any ramp closures."
Jason Ware, manager of No Idea Sports Bar & Dining inside the Comfort Inn, said people who are downtown do not want to sit in traffic to get to the restaurant, so they stay downtown. On the other hand, many of the hotel's guests have been eating at the restaurant rather than going somewhere else because it's more convenient.
"A lot of them have been staying in because it's a hassle to get out," he said. "We hope it's done soon because we like to have business from the hotel and outside the hotel."
Jason Cox, a salesman at Bill Wright Automotive, said the dealership's vehicles were recently shifted to an angle at which passing motorists can easily see their prices while they're sitting in traffic.
"If anything, it gives us better advertising," he said. "It gives people a chance to drive a little slower and see the vehicles we have on the lot."