Winter weather has slowed work on the West Main Street bridge reconstruction, but the project is on schedule to meet its August 2011 completion date, said Franklin County deputy bridge engineer Jim Pajk.

Winter weather has slowed work on the West Main Street bridge reconstruction, but the project is on schedule to meet its August 2011 completion date, said Franklin County deputy bridge engineer Jim Pajk.

"It's currently on budget. We haven't had any unforeseen things pop up, so that's always good," said Pajk, who is heading up the project. "As far as schedule goes, everything seems to be progressing the way we had hoped."

Though colder temperatures and snow mean less activity at the construction site, Pajk said that slowdown was planned into the construction timeline, and contractor Kokosing Construction had completed out the work it set to do before cold weather struck.

"A lot of times, they kind of plan for down periods in the winter, just due to weather restrictions," Pajk said. "With that, we are on target."

Pajk said Kokosing has done what was needed to "get the bridge out of the water," pouring concrete and building supports that fall under the waterline.

"They've kind of gotten to the point where the abutments are in and the piers are in," Pajk said.

They've also made progress on the falsework needed to support the bridge during construction, Pajk said. They'll continue some of that work as weather allows during the winter months, he said, and once nice weather breaks in the spring, workers will be able to focus on the bridge's girders and main deck.

"Next year, when the weather breaks really well for us, they'll be able to hit it again and get to the next important phase," Pajk said.

Construction on the $5.8-million bridge project began in mid-July and is planned to wrap up before the end of August next year.

Franklin County is primarily responsible for the cost of the project, paying $4.365-million of the cost. Westerville is shouldering the remaining $1.414-million.

Of the overall cost of the bridge, $4.9-million is eligible for federal reimbursement, meaning Westerville and Franklin County will ultimately be responsible for 80 percent of each of their shares in the cost.

While the project has caused some traffic problems along the detour route, which follows Cleveland Avenue north to County Line Road east and North West Street south, Pajk said residents have been understanding of the delays caused by the project.

"Every now and then, we'll hear some complaints as to when it's going to be open. I think for the most part, the community's been very understanding," he said.

If spring weather hits central Ohio early, Pajk said, the bridge could open earlier than projected.

"Our goal has been to keep everything on schedule," he said. "If we run into some good weather next year, maybe we can finish up early."