For informational/historical purposes only.


Ohio Department of Transportation Internet News Release
May 07, 2008


Battle Plan Set to Reduce Congestion; Ease Driver Stress

Construction Work Zone Strategies  |  Ohio Interstate Construction 2002 Brochure  |
Ohio Transportation Information System (OTIS)

(COLUMBUS) ODOT kicks off its 2002 construction season this month with $1.3 billion in resurfacing, reconstruction and major new projects, including 68 projects to improve Ohios interstates. But with the construction also comes a battle plan for reducing construction-related delays.

During 2001, ODOT spent an additional $30 million to make work zones more convenient for motorists. The department expects to spend a similar amount this year on construction strategies that will make work zones less stressful for Ohio drivers.

"We have a significant number of projects on one of the most heavily traveled highway networks in the nation," said ODOT Director Gordon Proctor. "Thats why were making extraordinary efforts statewide to reduce congestion in work zones and ease the impact of construction on motorists."

Of the 68 interstate construction projects planned for this year, 59 include contract provisions that restrict work to off-peak travel times, speed the pace of construction, or reward or penalize contractors for early completion or delays.

In addition, Ohio  may be the only state in the nation that requires contractors to maintain at least two lanes in each direction during daytime hours on the heavily traveled interstates. Exceptions are granted only under rare circumstances.

"Years ago, it was common practice to close a lane of traffic without regard to traffic volumes, which often resulted in large-scale backups," Proctor said. "But, today motorist delays and the cost of congestion are critical when planning work zones."

As part of the kick off, ODOT is also distributing its 2002 Interstate Construction Brochure, which is available through local ODOT offices and online. The brochure is a good tool to help motorists plan ahead for local or statewide interstate travel.


For More Information, 
: Joel Hunt, Public Information Officer (614) 466-8480


Construction Work Zone Strategies

ODOT is initiating new strategies to reduce construction-related traffic delays. These strategies are identified during the planning stages of a project so the department can help avoid or reduce congestion and ease driver stress.

Nighttime Paving or Weekend Work
ODOT often limits lane closures to off-peak hours, including nighttime and weekends, when far fewer motorists are using the roadway.

Two-Lanes During Daylight Hours on Interstates
Ohio may be the only state in the nation that requires contractors to maintain at least two lanes of traffic in each direction on the interstate during peak travel times. Exceptions are granted only under extraordinary circumstances.

Bridge Widening and Temporary Pavement
ODOT often widens bridges and adds temporary pavement on highways prior to construction to keep at least two lanes open in each direction during the work.

Permitted Lane Closure Map
ODOT uses maps that restrict lane and ramp closures to certain times of day based on traffic volumes in a given area. Closures made outside the guidelines require ODOT district offices to take extra measures to keep traffic moving.

Incentive/Disincentive Contracts
Rewards contractors for completing the work early and assess fees for delays.

Longer Work Hours
On projects with significant traffic impacts, ODOT often pays the contractor for more crews and/or longer work hours or work weeks.

Delay Thresholds
ODOT uses computer software to predict the probability of backups in construction work zones. Traffic backups more than 3/4 of a mile that require motorists to wait more than 10 minutes are considered unacceptable, and the district office must implement strategies to keep traffic moving.

Incident Management Practices
ODOT often employs tow trucks and vehicles equipped with push bumpers, either on site or on call, to quickly remove incidents such as accidents, stalls and breakdowns in construction work zones. These incidents cripple traffic flow in work zones.

Construction Communication Plans
ODOT works with local motorists and businesses to educate and prepare them for construction. Advanced notification and preparation can help minimize backups.

Key projects around Ohio include at least one, if not several, of these congestion-reduction initiatives:

$ Reconstruction of Interstate 670 in downtown Columbus includes contractor disincentives of $20,000 per day to encourage timely completion. In addition, ODOT and the City of Columbus have condensed the construction time from four years to 18 months.

$ Reconstruction on Interstate 71 in Wayne County and Interstate 90 in Cuyahoga County near Bratenahl will limit lane and ramp closures to nighttime hours. In addition, contractors are assessed penalty fees for delays.

$ Building a new interchange on Interstate 75 and 70 in Miami County. ODOT is maintaining three lanes in each direction. Crews are working longer hours to expedite the construction and the contractor will be assessed fees for delays.

$ Pavement replacement projects on I-670 near Grandview and I-270 on the southeast side of Columbus will maintain two lanes in each direction at all times using temporary pavement. The contractor will also be assessed penalty fees for delays.