One of only two routes over Hoover Reservoir is expected to reopen this week.

According to a press release from the Franklin County Engineer's Office, the Smothers Road Bridge, which traverses the reservoir on the border of Franklin and Delaware counties, is set to open Friday, July 14, after months of repairs.

The bridge closure took effect in February, when crews began replacing the existing bridge superstructure, abutments and pier caps.

The project, which cost $3.7 million, according to the engineer's office, was funded by the County Engineer's Association of Ohio.

Communications Director Amy Lowe said the project was the result of regular checks on county bridges that are "ranked and scored" to determine when work is necessary.

As a result of the repairs, the new bridge will be 2 feet wider but about the same height, with taller guardrails along the roadway.

The project was classified as "necessary" work due to bridge elements that had not been updated since 1953.

Since the bridge's closure in February, commuters who needed to cross over the reservoir were forced to take lengthy detours to the north or south of Smothers Road. The only other bridge across the reservoir runs along Sunbury Road to the north.

Lowe said she understands some drivers will be eager to use the reopened bridge, but she hopes the announcement of an opening date doesn't make people impatient.

The bridge will open shortly before rush hour Friday, "to give the contractor the time to get all their equipment out of the way," and Lowe said drivers should stay away until it's clearly ready for traffic that evening.

"We keep the construction workers' (safety) in mind, and they still need to finish clearing the road and things like that," she said.

The Franklin County Engineer's Office will hold an "opening ceremony" at 10 a.m. that day, and traffic can begin using the renovated roadway "just prior" to rush hour, she said.

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