U.S. Route 33 Nelsonville Bypass Opens Ahead of Schedule
Travel to southeast Ohio now safer, faster and easier
Nelsonville, OH (October 1, 2013) - After decades of planning and more than four years of construction, the $160 million, 8.5 mile U.S. Route 33 Nelsonville Bypass opened today providing motorists to southeast Ohio safer, faster and easier travel. Joined by ODOT Director Jerry Wray, community leaders, businesses and state and local officials attended the ceremonial ribbon cutting signifying the opening of the final upgrade to U.S. 33 and southeast Ohio’s major transportation corridor.
“Today, we keep yet another promise to the people of Southeastern Ohio as we cut the ribbon on the final phase of the Nelsonville Bypass, said Director Wray.
Until today, U.S. 33 through Nelsonville – where it narrowed from a four lane highway to a two lane local road – was heavily congested, with a history of serious injury crashes.
As one of the largest transportation projects ever in southeast Ohio, the Nelsonville Bypass is the last piece in creating a limited-access corridor between Columbus, Ohio and Charleston, West Virginia. Since the 1980s, more than $330 million has been spent to upgrade the U.S. 33 Corridor. The new four lane highway travels through Athens and Hocking County and consists of two interchanges into historic Nelsonville, Ohio.
“The completion of this historical project improves safety for motorists and enhances the flow of commerce to and from southeast Ohio, said ODOT District 10 Deputy Director Steve Williams.
U.S. 33 is a major route extending from the southeast corner of Michigan to Richmond, Virginia. U.S. 33 carries over 73,000 vehicles per day, with 1,700 being trucks, in some stretches between Columbus, Ohio and Charleston, West Virginia, making it the eighth busiest truck route in Ohio.
Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis was in attendance and discussed the historical significance of the project as well as the impact to the university.
“The idea for this project was initiated when I was a student at Ohio University by President Emeritus Vern Alden. He contributed to the early concepts of this project when he served as president,” said President McDavis. “While this project will improve our connectivity, it has provided research funds to the university that have enabled us to transfer technology, serve our region, and train undergraduate and graduate students as they performed research on this project. It is transformational educationally and interpersonally.”
Nearly five miles of the bypass bisects Wayne National Forest (WNF), Ohio’s only national forest. This unique alignment prompted ODOT and WNF to implement several wildlife and environmental mitigation techniques never before seen on a transportation project in Ohio.
The $160 million U.S. Route 33 Nelsonville Bypass is a three-phase, 8.5 mile new construction of four lane highway through Athens and Hocking County. A large portion of the bypass bisects Wayne National Forest, Ohio’s only National Forest. The new alignment consists of two major interchanges into the historic town of Nelsonville. Phase II, the western portion of the bypass, has been open since October 2012. Phase I and III will open October 1, 2013.
PHASE I and II
Contractor: Kokosing Construction Co., Westerville, Ohio
Investment: Phase I $23 Million – Phase II $45.2 Million
Start Date: Phase I October 2007 – Phase II October 13, 2009
End Date: Phase I July 2009 – Phase II October 2012
Summary: Phase I and II includes 5.0 miles of new 4 lane highway. Phase I and II also included the construction of the west side interchange. Total contract for both phases $67.37 million. Phase I began October 2007 and Phase II on Oct. 13, 2009. While Phase I was under construction District 10 was finalizing phase II and III.
Contractor: Beaver Excavating, Canton, Ohio
Investment: $92.2 Million
Start Date: October 13, 2009
End Date: October 2013
Summary: Phase III begins on the east side of Nelsonville and includes construction of 3.87 miles of four-lane highway. Also included in Phase III is the construction of the U.S. 33/SR 78 /SR 691 interchange. The project will reroute SR 78 1.63 miles through the Happy Hollow