The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is planning to invest $1.92 billion into 956 projects to improve transportation across the state.
The 2021 construction program includes improvements to 876 bridges and 4,596 miles of pavement. Ninety-six cents of every dollar invested will go toward making sure existing roads and bridges are in good condition and as safe as possible. An increase in the state motor fuel tax that went into effect on July 1, 2019, has allowed ODOT to keep maintenance and safety projects on schedule despite a 15.5% drop in traffic volume last year.
“Thanks to the foresight of Gov. DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly and internal operational savings identified by our workforce, we have been able to weather this global pandemic. Without those extra funds, we would be nearly a billion dollars in the red,” ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said in a statement. “While other states have been delaying or cancelling projects, Ohio continues moving forward.”
Safety remains the top priority, with a total of 266 safety projects included in this year’s construction program. Of those, 131 projects are funded through the ODOT Highway Safety Improvement Program, a total investment of $178 million. A portion of these funds will go to local municipalities, townships, and counties to make safety improvements on roads they maintain.
Funding will also help target more than 150 intersections prioritized by Gov. DeWine in early 2019. These projects include simple adjustments like changing signage and striping to more complex solutions like the full reconstruction of an intersection. To date, 36 locations have been completed, 43 are under or will soon begin construction this year, 101 are under design, and 4 are still being studied.
There were 4,536 work zone crashes in Ohio last year. Of those, 18 crashes were fatal and 96 resulted in serious injuries. ODOT will continue to work with the Ohio State Highway Patrol for targeting enforcement of traffic laws in work zones. Last year, ODOT crews were struck 125 times while on the job. ODOT crews have been hit 52 times already in 2021. A total of 162 ODOT workers have been killed while working to improve Ohio’s roadways.
SOURCE: Ohio DOT