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ODOT: Work begins on Ohio’s First Stimulus-Funded Project
Update on Ohio’s Transportation Stimulus Investments

CLEVELAND (Monday, June 8, 2009) - Work is underway on Ohio’s first transportation project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) marked the start of the project near downtown Cleveland - a $1.8 million investment of stimulus funds to widen the ramp from Interstate 490 eastbound to Interstate 77 northbound.

“Today we are making history,” said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris, who was joined by local leaders and Congressional officials to launch work on the project. “This is an important job for Clevelanders who have come to rely on this link into downtown Cleveland, especially during recent restrictions on the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge. This is also important for the laborers who have a reliable job because of this investment of stimulus funds.”

Starting today, motorists will also notice new signs at this construction site, announcing “Putting America to Work: Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” Similar orange-and-green signs will be erected when work begins at stimulus-funded projects across Ohio. 

Over the next several months, crews will widen the I-490 ramp, improving the substandard shoulder widths and allowing for an additional lane of traffic to travel into downtown Cleveland, but only during restrictions or closures of the Innerbelt bridge. The I-77/I- 490 interchange continues to see an increase in daily traffic, as an alternative route during restrictions on the aging Innerbelt Bridge. 

In October 2008, ODOT engineers restricted traffic on the 50-year-old Innerbelt Bridge and rerouted heavy truck traffic after inspections revealed that a number of steel members were aging faster than expected.  In March 2009, ODOT announced it would build a new $400 million, five-lane, westbound I-90 Innerbelt Bridge with an investment of stimulus dollars. 

Advancing More Stimulus-Funded Projects:

ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) continue to advance additional infrastructure projects closer to the construction phase. To date, FHWA has authorized more than $166.9 million in stimulus investments, including strategic projects at Ohio’s water ports and along its railroads. An additional $182.9 million in projects has been submitted for authorization by FHWA in the next three weeks.

Under ARRA requirements, ODOT must have authorized approximately $327.5 million of its $774 million stimulus allocation by June 29, 2009. The remaining amount must be authorized by March 1, 2010. States that meet these timeline requirements can compete for additional money lost by other states that fail to meet these deadlines. 

Connecting Workers with Jobs: 

All companies awarded ODOT contracts funded by Recovery Act resources are required to post any new job opportunities at www.OhioMeansJobs.com, an online source to match job seekers with employment openings across the state.

A complete list of the transportation projects prioritized for stimulus funding - with updates on projects which have been authorized, contracts which have been awarded, and new employment opportunities - can be found online at www.dot.state.oh.us.

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For more information, contact Scott Varner, Central Office Communications, at (614) 644-8640 or the ODOT District 12 Communications Office at (216) 584-2006.