Independence Dam State Park — closed briefly for roadway work — reopened late this week with new asphalt surfaces for visitors.
Located just east of Defiance on County Road 424, the park’s roadway was resurfaced, as were parking areas all the way through, including the primitive camping area in the back.
Some of the larger parking areas also received new striping, while new drainage was installed at a turning loop just before the camping area. The turnaround area had tended to become muddy during wet periods, but besides drainage improvements there, a layer of asphalt was added.
Further to the west on County Road 424, the park’s marina — which has its own boat dock and parking areas for vehicles and watercraft — received the same treatment. Directional markings on the roadway also were repainted, as was striping for parking spaces.
The work was completed by Geddis Paving & Excavating Inc., Toledo, while the contract cost was $443,091.85, according to Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 public information officer Rhonda Pees.
The contractor is the same one which last summer replaced nearly 200 feet of a block wall — installed many years ago along the north bank of the Maumee River just east of the dam — with large stones that slope to the shoreline. Part of the remaining limestone rock wall was repaired as well.
Concrete bump stops at the edge of the main parking lot that shifted over the years also were removed and replaced.
Additionally, County Road 424/East River Drive — between the Independence Dam State Park entrance and Defiance’s North Clinton Street — was widened last year. Most of that project was completed this spring when the road was resurfaced between the park entrance and Defiance’s East High Street. (The remainder of County Road 424/East River Drive — between East High and North Clinton — will be resurfaced when the Clinton Street bridge project is finished.)