For informational/historical purposes only.
Department of Transportation Internet News Release
Record Highway Construction Program Winds
Delaware The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter for thousands of central Ohio motorists who have patiently endured a record amount of construction over the past four years.
Today, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced that the largest highway reconstruction effort in history is winding down with the successful completion this year of three key Columbus-area highways. During the 2001 construction season, ODOT rebuilt and reopened stretches of interstates 71, 70 and State Route 315 ahead of schedule bringing sweet relief to construction-weary motorists.
"Over the past four years, ODOT has invested more than $400 million in central Ohio to rebuild and add capacity to our aging, overburdened highways," said Jack Marchbanks, ODOT District 6 deputy director. "While reconstruction efforts will continue in the future, it will be on a far smaller scale."
ODOT District 6, which encompasses an eight-county region in central Ohio, maintains the largest interstate highway system in the state. The district also has the second highest amount of traffic and the most truck traffic, which requires an aggressive amount of construction to maintain and repair.
Reducing congestion was also a top priority for ODOT in 2001.
"As it becomes more difficult to expand our highways to accommodate continued growth, were finding creative ways to move more people and goods on our existing streets and highways using new technology and freeway service patrols," Marchbanks said.
In June, ODOT launched the first freeway service patrol in central Ohio. The Freeway Incident Response Service Team or FIRST patrols Columbus-area interstates and major highways looking for stranded motorists, accidents or spills and helps clear them quickly. More than 50 percent of all urban congestion is caused by such incidents.
ODOT has also invested $10 million in advanced technology to reduce congestion on I-71 through Columbus. The new Freeway Management System uses weather and pavement sensors, traffic cameras, ramp meters and freeway message signs mounted over the freeway to detect and respond to slowdowns and relay real-time traffic information to motorists. The system should become operational in December 2001.
Similar freeway management systems already in use by other states have increased the ability to carry more cars and trucks on highways by 15 to 25 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
"In 2001, we demonstrated our commitment to reducing congestion," Marchbanks said. "That commitment will continue in 2002 as we face record traffic growth across the region and state."
2001 Central Ohio Accomplishments
State Route 315 - Franklin County ($18
Interstate 71 - Franklin County ($52 million)
Interstate 70 - Franklin County ($82 million)
Freeway Service Patrols - Franklin County
Freeway Management System - Franklin County ($10
US Route 23/42 - Delaware County ($7 million)
US Route 33 - Franklin/Union County ($3 million)
US Route 33 - Union County ($7 million)
River Valley Schools - Marion County