Closing the ProMedica Parkway entrance to eastbound I-475 presumably inconveniences thousands of people who live in nearby neighborhoods, not to mention the detour it forces for anyone headed back to I-75 after visiting nearby ProMedica Toledo Hospital.
But if you want to see why the Ohio Department of Transportation shut the ramp down until further notice, just look at this edited video clip from one of their nearby traffic-observation cameras, then compare it with an after version.
The footage was shot during rush hours, when traffic trying to get to the northbound I-75 entrance ramp backs up in the left lane of eastbound I-475 -- backups that became significantly worse when ODOT temporarily made the ramp traffic merge into I-75 instead of giving it a continuing lane north of the two freeways’ junction.
That merge is going to be there for a while, but once the I-75 reconstruction and widening project is finished, the ramp from eastbound I-475 to northbound I-75 will have two lanes instead of one, and the chronic backups approaching the junction should go away.
And as the first video shows, traffic behavior around the backup was a big problem. It actually had been troublesome for decades leading up to this project, with some motorists lining up in the left lane and others, either deliberately or naively, scooting east in the center line, then slowing down to try to cut into the left-lane line.
Providing two-lane ramps for all movements in the I-75/I-475 junction is the main reason ODOT is spending $200 million to upgrade that interchange and the stretches of freeway leading into it. Widening those ramps pretty much forced the state into also widening I-75 between I-475 and I-280 from four lanes to six, too; while four lanes was barely adequate under the old interchange layout, it promised to be a bottleneck once the ramps -- especially the northbound entrance -- were widened.
That’s why the second lane didn’t open right away on the ramp from eastbound I-475 to northbound I-75 when it was rebuilt a couple of years ago, even though room was provided for it.
ODOT says they’ll take a look at reopening the ProMedica entrance next year, when I-75 reconstruction south of the I-475 junction is finished. But based on the video, I expect the ramp to stay closed until the traffic backups associated with the work north of I-475 go away, and that’s probably not going to happen until mid-2018.