City and county representatives were ready to answer residents' questions about the West Main Street bridge replacement during a public hearing last week but only about 10 people showed up.

City and county representatives were ready to answer residents' questions about the West Main Street bridge replacement during a public hearing last week but only about 10 people showed up.

Franklin County deputy bridge engineer Jim Pajk said he was surprised by the small turnout, but said he thinks most people are already well aware of the $5.8-million project.

The Franklin County Engineer's Office held the two-hour meeting June 23 at the Westerville Senior Center as a last chance for residents to voice concerns or gather information.

Plans are to close the road July 12. The bridge is scheduled to reopen to pedestrians and traffic by Aug. 19, 2011.

The construction site will be completely closed to both pedestrians and traffic. Vehicles will be detoured along North West Street, County Line Road and Cleveland Avenue.

Access to the Westerville Senior Center, Astronaut Grove Park and Alum Creek Park North will be maintained, although vehicles will not be able to enter Alum Creek Park.

Work will be done to the drive entrance at the park to eliminate sight-distance issues when leaving, looking west. The park will remain open, but portions near the entrance will be closed.

Some residents at the meeting asked why North West Street was chosen as part of the detour route rather than North State Street. According to Pajk, the detour route was selected based on the shortest distance back to West Main Street on county roads; North West Street is a county road.

Officials stressed that they are ready to handle any issues or residents' concerns that arise once construction is in progress.

Terri Maselli, a Sunset Drive resident for 10 years, said she is worried about the increase in traffic on North West Street.

"It will become a busier street, and right now, if you're trying to make a turn out of Sunset Drive at any particular time, it's kind of difficult," Maselli said.

This is due to a slight curve at the intersection of North West Street and Sunset Drive, she said.

"When Otterbein goes back into session, you're going to have parents, you're going to have kids, you're going to have increased traffic and I'm just kind of concerned. I believe the police department needs to monitor the speed along through there for a while," Maselli said.

She anticipates there will be heavy traffic at both the North West Street and North State Street intersections.

"County Line is going to be a very busy street," she said.

Maselli said she hopes the city will consider adding time to traffic lights so vehicles can safely move through those intersections.

Although comforted by promises that the detour route will be monitored, Maselli is still skeptical.

"They always just say that in the beginning," she said. "We'll hope so."

Although Maselli drives across the West Main Street bridge nearly every day, she doesn't seem to mind finding a detour.

"It's a slight inconvenience, but I think we can all adjust to it," she said.

The new bridge - a triple-span, haunched box-girder structure made of reinforced concrete -will include sidewalks that are more than four feet wider than the current walkways, with a concrete barrier separating pedestrians from the roadway. It has an estimated service life of 100 years.

Kokosing Construction Co. was hired for the project after submitting the lowest bid of $5,779,116. Funding for the bridge has been divided between Franklin County and Westerville.

Kokosing has appointed Scott Mesick as the area manager and Dave Rinehart as the project superintendent.