Igniting Ohio’s Economic Engine: ODOT’s Historic Construction Season Officially Underway

More than $2 billion to be invested across every Ohio county, every mode of transportation

COLUMBUS (Wednesday, April 7, 2010) - With investments being made in every county of Ohio and in every major mode of transportation, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is “igniting Ohio’s economic engine” with today’s official start of the largest construction season in state history.

During the 2010 season, ODOT will award more than $2 billion in transportation construction projects – outnumbering investments in past seasons by more than 30 percent.

“These investments will put more Ohioans to work building our state’s transportation infrastructure in one construction season than ever before,” said Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who officially kicked off the state’s construction season in Columbus. “When you add together the projects that are already under construction and those stimulus projects made possible by the Recovery Act, there will be more than $4 billion in active construction going on this summer.”  (Visit the "Igniting Ohio's Economic Engine" 2010 Construction Information page for audio clips of this and other key messages.)

ODOT and its local transportation partners will have more than 1,600 projects under construction this year, including more than 130 interstate projects, 300 resurfacing/pavement upgrade projects, 290 bridge and culvert modernizations, 30 pedestrian and bikeway improvements, and seven maritime projects at Ohio’s water ports along the Ohio River and Lake Erie.

“Ohio’s historic investments in transportation are helping to ignite the state’s economic engine by creating jobs, modernizing our aging infrastructure, and giving our citizens and businesses real choices in travel and shipping,” said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris. “Through these investments, we are creating a true 21st Century multi-modal transportation system that will strengthen Ohio’s competitive position in national and global markets and revitalize our cities and towns.”

The largest project to be awarded this year will also represent the state’s largest single investment in Ohio history: the $450 million Interstate 90 Innerbelt Bridge in downtown Cleveland. Although construction isn’t expected until 2011, designers and engineers will begin work this summer on expedited efforts to replace the Innerbelt Bridge under a unique design-build contract to be awarded this fall.

Other major construction projects to begin work this season include the $57.6 million second phase of the modernization of I-75 through downtown Dayton; a $14 million stimulus-funded project to better connect the Rickenbacker Airport and Intermodal Terminal near Columbus and an $11 million bridge widening project on I-270 in southern Franklin County; and a $23 million, five-mile major upgrade of I-70 in Belmont County.

New construction will also begin on a $6.2 million pavement upgrade along I-70 near Zanesville; the $6.8 million stimulus-funded crane replacement project at the Port of Toledo and the $89.5 million reconstruction of I-475 in Lucas County; the $38.5 million major modernization of I-90 in Ashtabula County; and the $25 million State Route 4 Bypass in Butler County (near Cincinnati) which will include construction of the state’s first “superstreet” intersections to relieve increasing congestion.

“Just as important as the number of projects under construction this year is the number of paychecks these investments are helping to write,” said ODOT Director Molitoris, who pointed to a well-studied formula from the Federal Highway Administration showing that every $1 billion invested in highways and bridge impacts 27,800 jobs.

With more than $4 billion in active construction this year alone, Ohio’s transportation investments will positively impact an estimated 111,000 jobs, ranging from direct jobs on construction sites, indirect jobs at companies that supply materials and good for construction, and spin-off jobs that benefit from all of the investment.

Increased construction on Ohio’s roadways will require greater attention to safety by Ohio’s motorists. An ODOT safety analysis shows 4,933 crashes in work zones along Ohio’s roadways last year. 13 people lost their lives.

“There are a lot of variables in work zones – the cones, signs, equipment and workers. With reduced speed limits and traffic lane shifts,  it’s important to slow down and be aware of your surroundings in a work zone at all times of the day – for everyone’s safety,” added Director Molitoris.

To help drivers safely navigate Ohio’s historic construction season, ODOT is offering the latest information on all of the construction projects in Ohio that might impact travel on www.BuckeyeTraffic.org. ODOT’s premier website offers up-to-the-minute road conditions and details on highway construction projects in every area of the state.

 For more information contact:

Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640
or Your Local ODOT Communications Office