I-75 is important for long-distance state and national travel, as well as being a major thoroughfare for local and regional mobility. I‑75 connects Lima with Toledo and Detroit to the north, and Cincinnati, Atlanta and Miami to the south. I‑75 within Ohio, and the railroads that run parallel to it, are among the nations busiest for the movement of people and goods. According to FHWA’s estimates, I‑75 is among the busiest trucking routes in North America, with truck traffic approaching six billion miles annually. More than 250 freight trains per day pass through or have destinations within Ohio’s I‑75 corridor (ODOT, 2004).
The Allen 75 Study is being conducted because I-75 has exhibited inadequate pavement performance between the Auglaize/Allen County Line and the Bluelick Road Interchange in Allen County, Ohio. Within this section, the interstate also exhibits geometric conditions that do not meet current ODOT design standards. These two factors have lead to the identification of the Allen 75 Study on the state and regional transportation improvement plans.Specific goals of the Allen 75 Study are:
The section of I-75 between logpoints 0.21 and 10.00 in Allen County has historically demonstrated poor pavement performance. The I-75 corridor in Allen County was originally constructed with a nine-inch reinforced concrete pavement and a six-inch aggregate sub-base. It was first overlaid in 1973, 16 years after the original construction was complete. It has been overlaid or repaved five times between 1973 and 2004. The most recent pavement improvements to this section were completed in 2004, when it was milled to a two-inch depth and resurfaced. The resurfacing projects since 1973 have resulted in an average service life of just less than eight years, while the design life was expected to be 12 years.
The section of I-75 between logpoints 0.21 and 10.00 was submitted as a case study for an ODOT report published in 2000, Ohio’s Interstate System: 50 Years of Service (1945-2005). The study was initiated as an analysis of existing conditions on the interstate system, to assess the need for improvements and rehabilitation on the system’s aging infrastructure. The 2000 interstate study concluded that, “The 1950s base design, coupled with the increased loads, and costs involved in maintaining this section of roadway has made this section of interstate a suitable candidate for major rehabilitation efforts.”
The Allen 75 Study is included in Access Ohio, ODOT’s long-range transportation plan, and in the four-year State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). It is also in the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission’s (LACRPC) 2025 Long Range Fiscally Constrained Transportation Plan Update, (October 2000). In addition, ODOT’s review of the Ohio interstate system stated that, “The 1950s base design, coupled with the increased loads, and costs involved in maintaining this section of roadway has made this section of interstate a suitable candidate for major rehabilitation efforts.” (ODOT, 2000)
ODOT initiated the Allen 75 Study in 2004. The study process is following ODOT’s Major Project Development Process (PDP).
The eastern and western limits of the study area generally follow the existing alignment of I-75, but deviate in some locations to encompass proposed interchange designs.
Purpose and Need
Pavement Performance and Roadway Deficiencies – Deteriorating bridge and pavement conditions, narrow shoulders, and other design deficiencies have been identified on I-75 in the study area. These deficiencies lead to problems including increased maintenance costs; increased risk of crashes; and increased delay during crashes, breakdowns, or scheduled construction; increased traffic on other roadways; and accelerated wear and tear on vehicles.
Inclusion in Statewide or Local Plans (Transportation Demand) – The Allen 75 Study is included in ODOT’s long-range transportation plan and in the State Transportation Improvement Plan. It is also in the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission’s(LACRPC) 2025 Long Range Fiscally Constrained Transportation Plan Update (October 2000). In addition, research for the 2000 ODOT report, Ohio’s Interstate System 50 Years of Service (1945 – 2005), indicated that this section of I-75 is “a suitable candidate for major rehabilitation efforts.”
In summary, potential benefits of the Allen 75 Study include an improved level of service, reduced potential for crashes and delays, and increased efficiency for the many trucks and other commercial vehicles using this segment of I‑75. These benefits will enhance the quality of life for residents of the Lima/Allen County region and the commuters who work in the area, while promoting economic growth within the region. Interstate commerce will also benefit, as long-distance trips along I‑75 through Allen County become more reliable with the reduction in travel delays.