Igniting Ohio’s Economic Engine: ODOT’s Historic Construction Season Officially Underway
More than $2 billion to be invested across every Ohio county, every mode of transportation
New Philadelphia, Ohio (Thursday, April 8, 2010) – With investments being made in every county of Ohio and in every major mode of transportation, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is "igniting Ohio’s economic engine" with today’s official start of the largest construction season in state history.
During the 2010 season, ODOT will award more than $2 billion in transportation construction projects – outnumbering investments in past seasons by more than 30 percent.
"These investments will put more Ohioans to work building our state’s transportation infrastructure in one construction season than ever before," said Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who officially kicked off the state’s construction season in Columbus. "When you add together the projects that are already under construction and those stimulus projects made possible by the Recovery Act, there will be more than $4 billion in active construction going on this summer."
ODOT and its local transportation partners will have more than 1,600 projects under construction this year, including more than 90 projects in eastern Ohio. Statewide, more than 130 interstate projects, 300 resurfacing/pavement upgrade projects, 290 bridge and culvert modernizations, 30 pedestrian and bikeway improvements, and seven maritime projects at Ohio’s water ports along the Ohio River and Lake Erie will be completed.
"Ohio’s historic investments in transportation are helping to ignite the state’s economic engine by creating jobs, modernizing our aging infrastructure, and giving our citizens and businesses real choices in travel and shipping," said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris. "Through these investments, we are creating a true 21st Century multi-modal transportation system that will strengthen Ohio’s competitive position in national and global markets and revitalize our cities and towns."
A great example of these investments is the $5.7 million, stimulus-funded project to construct an overhead bridge crane and conveyor system at the Wellsville Intermodal Port Facility, rendering the site fully operational. This project alone expands the capabilities at Ohio's largest river port, providing international cargo access to the Ports of New Orleans and Mobile. It adds cargo handling capacity to three modes of transportation, while reducing highway congestion and fuel consumption by a modal shift to rail or water, and allows seamless transshipment of cargo from barge to truck to rail car.
Other major construction projects to begin work this season in eastern Ohio include a $23 million, five-mile major upgrade of Interstate 70 in Belmont County; a $4.3 million major reconstruction of U.S. Route 250 just east of Tappan Lake in Harrison County; and a $7.5 million, stimulus-funded major reconstruction of State Route 43 (Washington Street) in the city of Steubenville.
Construction is expected to be completed on several major projects around the region this year, including the $11 million, stimulus-funded new I-77 Interchange being constructed at County Road 80 in Dover; the $6.9 million relocation of SR 149 at Bellaire in Belmont County; and ODOT’s new $4.2 million maintenance facility at Millersburg in Holmes County.
"Just as important as the number of projects under construction this year is the number of paychecks these investments are helping to write," said ODOT Director Molitoris, who pointed to a well-studied formula from the Federal Highway Administration showing that every $1 billion invested in highways and bridge impacts 27,800 jobs.
With more than $4 billion in active construction this year alone, Ohio’s transportation investments will positively impact an estimated 111,000 jobs, ranging from direct jobs on construction sites, indirect jobs at companies that supply materials and good for construction, and spin-off jobs that benefit from all of the investment.
Increased construction on Ohio’s roadways will require greater attention to safety by Ohio’s motorists. An ODOT safety analysis shows 4,933 crashes in work zones along Ohio’s roadways last year; 13 people lost their lives.
"There are a lot of variables in work zones – cones, signs, equipment and workers. With reduced speed limits and traffic lane shifts, it’s important to slow down and be aware of your surroundings in a work zone at all times of the day – for everyone’s safety," added Director Molitoris.
To help drivers safely navigate Ohio’s historic construction season, ODOT is offering the latest information on all of the construction projects in Ohio that might impact travel on www.BuckeyeTraffic.org. ODOT’s Web site offers up-to-the-minute road conditions and details on highway construction projects in every area of the state.
For more information contact: Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640
or Becky Giauque \Jee-awg\, ODOT District 11 Communications Office, at 330-308-3949
ODOT District 11 serves Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson and Tuscarawas counties.