It’s official, the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge will go into service at 8:30 am on Thursday, October 27.
The engineers sent word around on Tuesday that the final touches should be done on Wednesday so the bridge could be opened on Thursday. Being engineers, the bridge opening was just another task on the work schedule that followed after item 5,643 (remove the barricades on the bridge) — so when we heard the good news we intervened and added cut ribbon and take photos to their task list.
The bridge opening has been a long time coming, and as the largest bridge project in the history of Portage County, it seemed worthy of a momentary celebration, a few snips of the scissors and pictures for posterity.
I know, it sounds a bit dramatic — yes, it’s just a bridge after all — but if you knew how much work went into getting to this point, you’d raise a toast to the engineers and everyone involved in this project. We can’t do that on company time so we’ll settle for some ribbons and pictures — saving the bottle popping and toasting for a little later.
Technically, the project still has a lot more work to go. Most immediately we’ve got some more signal work that needs to be finished before the Crain Avenue connection can be re-opened, so at least until next Monday the new bridge will only be open to Water Street.
Then the old bridge will come down and we’ll build a new hike and bike bridge in it’s place. The roadway alignments still need some work and all of the green space, including the park like landscaping and the stormwater features all have to be built next year.
But those are tomorrow’s worries, today we celebrate the bridge opening.