For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

 Ohio Department of Transportation  Internet News Release
October 22, 2004

U.S. 33 ATHENS TO DARWIN RELOCATION COMPLETED
 
$90 Million New Alignment to Increase Safety

(Darwin) - Ohio Department of Transportation Director Gordon Proctor today opened the $90 million project to relocate U.S. Route 33 between the city of Athens and the community of Darwin. Proctor was joined by Federal Highway Administration Chief Counsel D.J. Gribbin, State Rep. Jimmy Stewart (R-92nd District), State Sen. Joy Padgett, ODOT District 10 Deputy Director George M. Collins, Southeast Ohio Regional Council co-chair Steve Story, and numerous area elected officials at the ribbon cutting ceremony to announce the completion of the project.

"The improvements to U.S. 33 in this area and throughout southeastern Ohio will help this region reap the economic benefits other parts of the state have experienced," said Proctor.

The Athens to Darwin project built approximately 13 miles of new highway connecting the four-lane section of U.S. 33 at Athens with the four-lane section at Darwin. The new route replaces the existing narrow and winding road which was plagued with site distance impediments. The previous route also included only two marked passing zones and there were more than 200 access points with driveways to homes and businesses, and county and township roads throughout the 13-mile stretch. The new route will significantly improve mobility and safety through southeast Ohio.

"While the Athens to Darwin project is important individually, combined with the other projects to improve U.S. 33 from Columbus to the Ohio River it is a vital component to opening economical development opportunities throughout southeast Ohio, said Proctor. "When all of the improvements to U.S. 33 are completed, the route will significantly improve the transportation of manufactured goods and increase overall travel efficiency through the area."

In addition to the Athens to Darwin project, the Lancaster bypass scheduled for completion fall 2005, the Ravenswood connector in Meigs County completed in December 2003, and the Nelsonville bypass currently under development represent the largest effort ever to complete the U.S. 33 corridor to the Ohio River. The completion of these projects will make U.S. 33 a major thoroughfare and the shortest route between Columbus and Charleston, W. Va.

The $141 million Lancaster bypass project will construct a new 12-mile, four-lane bypass around the city to help alleviate increasing congestion in the area and provide economic development opportunities for the region.

The $65 million 16-mile Ravenswood Connector links U.S. 33 near the village of Pomeroy with the Ohio River Bridge and Interstate 77 in Ravenswood, W.Va.