TOLEDO (June 23, 2007) Northwest Ohio is making
history as the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) prepares to
open the Veterans Glass City Skyway (VGCS) Bridge in Toledo. Governor
Ted Strickland and ODOT Director James Beasley, joined by community
leaders and the VGCS Taskforce, cut the ribbon today to recognize the
end of this six-year state project.
"The workers who have labored since 2001 are owed our gratitude,"
said Governor Strickland. "While this is a day to celebrate, we also
remember the workers no longer with us who helped make this
celebration possible. The bridge will long stand as a tribute to their
memory as well as the sacrifices of our states veterans."
U.S. Senator George Voinovich, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, State
Senator Teresa Fedor, State Representative Peter Ujvagi, Mayor of
Toledo Carleton Finkbeiner, Mayor of Oregon Marge Brown,
representatives from the local ironworkers and carpenters unions, ODOT
District Two Deputy Director David Dysard and VGCS Bridge Taskforce
Chair Steve Nathanson participated in the dedication ceremony.
The opening of the VGCS Bridge is a monumental event for Ohio from
both a community and transportation standpoint. The project holds
significance in the magnitude of the work, details of the structure
and the unprecedented public input process before and during
"As an engineer of more than 30 years, I can tell you this bridge
is a marvel," said Beasley, noting that the concrete structure is the
largest, most complicated project ODOT has completed to date. "This
bridge will be a landmark of hope for tomorrow and all the better days
ahead for Northwest Ohio."
The VGCS is the only bridge in the world to have programmable light
fixtures in the main pylon. Behind its 176 inlaid, glass panels are
light-emitting diode fixtures that can create limitless color
combinations. The design honors Toledos heritage as a glass-making
city. The bridge is also the first in the United States with stainless
steel stay cable sheathing and has set a world record in the number of
strands that make a single stay.
Never before has a community been so involved in ensuring that a
transportation project of this size met the needs of traffic and
characterized a citys unique history. ODOT continued this partnership
in the opening of the bridge, including events such as a parade and
four-mile walk/run sponsored by the Taskforce and community members.
While the community held the honor of first crossing the VGCS
Bridge on foot, ODOT will open two lanes of traffic in each direction
on Sunday, June 24. The Craig Memorial Bridge, outdated to serve
traffic on Interstate 280, will continue to function as a drawbridge
and become part of State Route 65. It will eventually allow vehicle,
foot and bicycle traffic, connecting the neighborhoods of Toledo