For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

 Ohio Department of Transportation  Internet News Release
March 17, 2004

TAFT KICKS OFF 2004 HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION SEASON IN AKRON

Jobs and Progress Plan Top Priority

COLUMBUS (March 17, 2004) C Governor Bob Taft today announced nearly $320 million will be invested this year to improve the highway network in the Akron-Canton and the Mahoning Valley Regions. Taft kicked-off the 2004 highway construction season at a Federal Express facility in the city of Green.

AThis spring, orange barrels will signify an unprecedented effort to put Ohioans to work and ensure the competitiveness of our transportation system,@ Taft said. AJobs and Progress will make our roads safer, less congested and more efficient for everyone.@

This year=s construction program begins the work on projects identified in the governor=s Jobs and Progress Plan unveiled last August. The $5 billion 10-year plan represents Ohio=s largest transportation initiative since the original creation of the interstate highway system. It will rebuild Ohio=s urban interstate networks, address high-crash and congested locations, and complete the state=s rural macro-corridors.

The Governor=s plan will create jobs for thousands of Ohioans. According to federal statistics, every $1 billion invested into the highway system supports more than 40,000 jobs with less than 25 percent of those in the actual construction field.

AThanks to Governor Taft=s leadership we will rebuild Ohio=s stressed transportation network, improve the state=s business climate for existing companies and open new economic development opportunities,@ said Ohio Department of Transportation Director Gordon Proctor.

Key construction projects this year include:

$ Interstate 77 widening in Stark County
$ Interstate 270/State Route 161/Sunbury Road interchanges in Franklin County
$ U.S. Route 33, Lancaster Bypass
$ Multiple projects along the I-75 corridor
$ Interstate 280 (Maumee River Crossing) in Lucas County
$ Widening of Interstate 71 in Ashland and Richland counties
$ Interstate 90 reconstruction in Cuyahoga and Lake counties

Additional projects that will affect the Akron and Canton area include:

$ New interchange construction at Interstate 77 and Shuffel Road in Stark County
$ State Route 8 reconstruction in Akron
$ Interstate 76 rehabilitation in Portage County
$ State Route 711 construction of new highway in Trumbull and Mahoning counties

ODOT=s 2004 Construction Brochure is available at ODOT district offices. Ongoing construction information can be accessed at www.buckeyetraffic.org.