For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE
The Ohio Department of Transportation & The Office of Governor Bob Taft
October 26, 2005

 

TAFT OPENS FINAL LEG OF LANCASTER BYPASS
$141 million U.S. Route 33 relocation to improve safety and mobility

(JACKSONTOWN) October 26, 2005 Governor Bob Taft and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor today officially opened the $141 million U.S. Route 33, Lancaster Bypass in Fairfield County with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The bypass project was conceived in the early 1960s and has been a dream for those living, working and traveling through this community, Taft said. Today, as we celebrate the completion of the Lancaster Bypass, we can proudly say, your dream has come true.

The completion of the Lancaster Bypass is a major milestone for ODOT toward providing a direct link between Indiana and West Virginia. When the U.S. 33 corridor upgrade is complete, it will be the shortest route between Columbus and Charleston, West Virginia.

The upgrade also falls directly in line with the Governor's Jobs and Progress Plan.  The 10-year, $5 billion Jobs and Progress Plan will rebuild Ohios highway network, address high-crash and congested locations and complete Ohios rural macro-corridors like U.S. 33.

This upgrade was vital to turning U.S. 33 into a major thoroughfare, making it easier to travel and providing connectivity between economic centers, Taft said. This means more jobs, a better standard of living and an overall improved quality of life for the people of southeast Ohio.

The project also brings needed safety improvements to U.S. 33.  Traffic volumes near Lancaster increased nearly 70 percent from 1991 to 2001, making congestion and accidents common occurrences.  An estimated 50 percent of traffic on U.S. 33 will utilize the new bypass, reducing travel time through Lancaster by more than 20 minutes, reducing congestion and improving mobility.

Increasing safety is another key goal of the Jobs and Progress Plan, said Proctor. Thanks to Governor Tafts leadership, ODOT is able to improve safety and mobility along this corridor by moving forward with the largest effort in history to complete U.S. 33 to the Ohio River.

Projects recently completed on U.S. 33 east of the Lancaster Bypass include the Athens to Darwin and the Ravenswood Connector projects in Athens and Meigs counties. In addition, projects to bypass Nelsonville to the east and to upgrade U.S. 33 to the west, between Lancaster and Columbus, are also under development. While each of these projects is important individually, collectively they are vital to opening economic development opportunities for southeast Ohio and providing the region with a safe, modern transportation system.