Ohio Department of Transportation kicks off ‘historic’ construction season
But according to the department, this won’t be your run-of-the-mill construction season. ODOT said that the 2008-2009 season will be a “historic” one.
“Over the next year and a half, ODOT plans to oversee $2.5 billion in construction contract awards—the largest amount ever awarded in that time frame,” ODOT Director James Beasley said earlier this month during a kickoff ceremony in Columbus. “We are investing in what truly matters to Ohio, targeting the state’s resources at our greatest needs and our greatest opportunities.”
Among the 1,000 construction projects scheduled to take place across Ohio are 80 interstate construction projects totaling approximately $605 million and 823 paving and rehabilitation projects on state and U.S. routes totaling more than $1.1 billion.
ODOT pointed to several other expected highlights of the 2008-2009 construction season in Ohio:
- The largest state project set to sell is a major reconstruction project in Warren County on Interstate Highway 75 between the city of Middletown and the Montgomery county line. The $154.5 million project includes the addition of an extra lane of traffic in both directions. According to ODOT, the project will complement work already under way on I-75 in Butler County north to state Route 122.
- The second-largest project set to sell is the modernization of state Route 2 along Lake Erie, adding capacity to one of the Cleveland area’s most heavily traveled thoroughfares stretching across Eastlake, Willoughby and Mentor.
- Work is well-underway on I-75 in Dayton to realign the interstate at state Route 4, removing dangerous ramps and reducing crossover traffic. ODOT also is deploying new traffic monitoring equipment that will warn motorists of congestion in the construction zone.
- Work will be completed this year on the state Route 161 widening project from the eastern edge of Franklin County to Licking County. In recent years, the state Route 161 corridor has become a vital link to commuters and communities in Franklin, Delaware and Licking counties. It also is becoming one of the most congested, according to ODOT.
In addition to showcasing the state’s largest and more unique projects, the kickoff ceremony also spotlighted the department’s efforts to envision a multimodal transportation system—one that connects highways, aviation, railroads, waterways and transit— for Ohio’s future.
“In the coming days, we will be announcing the launch of Ohio’s 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force,” Beasley said. “We will bring all Ohioans to the table to determine our transportation priorities: balancing the movement of people and freight; promoting safety and reducing congestion; creating jobs and encouraging responsible growth; helping build sustainable communities; and linking all our modes to meet our mission.”
Beasley also pointed out that the task force will be charged with identifying the fairest way to finance Ohio’s transportation system of the future, finding new funding tools for state and local governments and coming up with innovative ways to partner with the private sector.