Contact: Nancy Burton at (740) 833-8063 or Matt
Bruning at (614) 466-6906
COLUMBUS- As part of
Ohio’s efforts to be a leader in using technology to improve traffic and
safety in the state, construction will begin in Columbus this week on the
state's first SmartLane; a seven mile stretch of Interstate 670 between
downtown and the John Glenn International Airport.
The Ohio Department
of Transportation (ODOT) will be converting the left-side shoulder into an
additional travel lane during peak travel times, called a SmartLane. This
is the first project of its kind in the state.
“This project is a
smart investment for Ohio. By re-purposing the shoulder, which already
exists, and investing in state-of-the-art technology, we are able to
decrease congestion in this corridor without the high costs and long
timelines associated with highway widening,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray.
digital overhead signs will be installed every three-quarters of a mile to
let motorists know if the lane is open to traffic or closed by displaying
either a red “X” or a green arrow. The SmartLane will generally be open
Monday through Friday during the evening rush hour, about 3:30 PM to 6:30
PM. The lane will only be opened during off-peak times if traffic
conditions warrant a need for it.
The state’s most
recent biennial budget legislation also gave ODOT the authority to lower
the speed limits on I-670 when the SmartLane is open.
“It might sound
counter-intuitive, but studies have shown travelling at slower speeds
actually keeps traffic moving better because it avoids the 'stop and go'
conditions which can cause more accidents. Ultimately, we believe the
combination of the extra travel lane and the reduced speed limits will
allow for a more reliable commute for travelers along that route,” said
cameras will be installed along the SmartLane that will allow ODOT’s
Statewide Traffic Management Center to monitor the SmartLane 24/7 and
ensure there are never vehicles or debris in the lane before it opens to
In addition to the
technology upgrades, the project also includes rebuilding the left shoulder
on I-670 eastbound to better accommodate drivers in the SmartLane,
resurfacing I-670 between I-71 and I-270, and reconfiguring the interchange
at I-670, I-270 and US 62.
The $60 million
project is expected to be complete by the end of 2019. During construction
this year and next, drivers will experience ramp and lane closures, most of
which will occur overnight and on weekends.
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To see a
video of the SmartLane, graphics and renderings on the interchange
improvements at I-670/I-270 and US Route 62, visit the project website.