I-475 is a heavily traveled highway that serves both as an outer belt on the west side of Toledo, Ohio and a main thoroughfare for communities west of the city to travel to the downtown area. It intersects I-75 on the north side of Toledo in a busy, complicated and sometimes dangerous interchange. Originally constructed in the 1950s, increased traffic volumes, safety concerns and the construction and subsequent expansions of the Toledo Hospital in the immediate vicinity of the interstate made it necessary for a large scale widening and reconstruction project. Included was an all new diamond style interchange primarily devoted to the hospital. E.S. Wagner Company served as the prime contractor on this project for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
While relatively short in over length at just over two miles, the almost $64 million project was incredibly complicated requiring careful maintenance of traffic procedures while performing a total removal, replacement and widening of the highway over the full distance. Construction of the roadway required approximately 190,000 cubic yards of excavation and 110,000 cubic yards of embankment. E.S. Wagner removed 135,000 square yards of existing concrete pavement that was recycled and partially reincorporated into the project.
While the roadway construction activities were demanding due to the tight confines of the corridor, the project’s overall complexity was magnified by the vast amount of required bridge and structure work. All together, the project’s twelve bridge structures and eight retaining walls consisted of 21,000 cubic yards of quality control/quality assurance concrete, 13,500 lineal feet of drilled shaft foundations, 80,300 lineal feet of driven piles, almost 175,000 cubic yards of granular embankment, 54,320 square feet of Mechanically Stabilized Earth Wall, 3.2 million pounds of reinforcing steel and 5.5 million pounds of structural steel.
As is common when new construction replaces old, as is the case on this project, difficulties that cannot be totally anticipated during the design phase are manifest during construction. While the project incurred several significant delays, including a slope failure forcing a partial redesign of the largest retaining wall on the project and one of the wettest years on record for this part of the country, E.S. Wagner partnered with ODOT to mitigate much of the lost time impact and worked with the Department in an effort to resolve additional project challenges.