For informational/historical purposes only.

The Ohio Department of Transportation

Internet News Release

April 13, 2006

State and Local Officials Break Ground for the Interstate 80 Meander Bridge Project


(AKRON APRIL 13)  - With shovels in hand, state and local officials today marked the beginning of construction on the Interstate 80/Meander bridge replacement and widening project in Austintown Township. The project is the largest single project breaking ground across the state this year.

 ODOT Director Gordon Proctor said the $86.7 million project is a prime example of state and local officials working together for the benefit of the community.

 With the community and traveling public in mind, ODOT worked with local officials and emergency responders to design this project to achieve everyones goals, Proctor said. I am proud to say that with everyones cooperation, we were able to design a project that will improve safety for the traveling public as well as for the drinking water in the reservoir below.

 The project consists of widening I-80 between the Ohio Turnpike and the State Route 46/State Route 11 interchange, widening and reconstructing new, 2,500-foot twin bridges over the reservoir, and installing a unique spill containment system to protect the drinking water, the first of its kind in the state.

 This four-mile stretch of highway has one of the largest truck traffic volumes in the state. Trucks make up 30 percent of the 55,000 vehicles that travel I-80 daily, making the additional lanes on I-80 and wider shoulders on the bridges over the reservoir vital to reducing congestion.

 Keeping traffic on the move during construction is a top priority, said Mohamed Darwish, ODOT District 4 Deputy Director. To do this, ODOT will maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction on I-80 by building extra pavement and shifting traffic to provide room for crews to reconstruct the roadway.

 While the impact to motorists will be minimized, drivers need to continue to be aware and cautious when driving through the work zone as lanes will be narrowed and traffic patterns will change, Darwish said.

 The reconstruction of I-80 and the twin bridges is indicative of projects supported by Governor Bob Tafts Jobs and Progress Plan. The Jobs and Progress Plan is a $5 billion, 10-year plan to rebuild Ohios highway network, address high-crash and congested locations and complete the states rural macro-corridors.

 While the I-80/Meander project has been in ODOTs plans for several years, it is only through the increased funding provided to northeast Ohio by the Jobs and Progress Plan that ODOT is able to construct the project now. Over the next decade, northeast Ohio will continue to see a major investment into its roadways as ODOT advances almost $3 billion worth of improvements in the region with projects like this.