Be prepared for lots of oranges barrels this year — the Ohio Department of Transportation will invest $2.3 billion this year in road and bridge construction, with more than $13.5 million spent on five projects in Delaware County.
The 2017 total is slightly lower than the record $2.4 billion investments in infrastructure in 2014 and 2015. The construction season includes 1,098 total projects; and 26 of those are valued at more than $10 million.
ODOT officials said the 6,945 miles of roadway that will be paved this season is long enough for a two-lane road from Seattle to Key West.
For those who work in or have to drive through Columbus, construction will begin again along the split — the Interstate-70/71 downtown corridor at the Grant Avenue Bridge and Mound Street; the first of five projects there intended to reduce congestion and improve safety. ODOT said there will be more lanes, less weaving merging, new ramps; along with more pedestrian and cyclist connectors and signalized intersections.
“Instead of one large project with a hefty price tag, we’ve designed the safety improvements into five smaller projects that are more attractive to fund,” said Jack Marchbanks, ODOT District 6 Deputy Director at construction kickoff news conference at Dodge Park in Columbus on March 30. “Traffic will still be impacted, but less so by smaller projects because the construction work zone is shorter.”
ODOT has 12 districts; and Delaware-based District 6 covers eight counties: Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway and Union. There will be 83 projects in central Ohio that cost a total of $390 million. Of that, $279 million is for new projects; $112 for carryover projects. The projects will impact 4,921 lane miles and 1,557 bridges.
One of the major projects technically in Franklin County that will impact Delaware County residents is the North Side Mega Fix — changing the interchanges at I-270/US Route 23 and State Route 315. Building new ramps and bridges will continue, and the project is expected to be completed in June.
Other major projects include: Widening I-270 between Dublin and Hilliard; Widening I-71 on the south side between SR 315 and Stringtown Road; I-70 west side reconstruction at I-270; , reconstruction of the I-270 and US 33 interchange in Dublin; and SR435 reconstruction at I-71 in Jeffersonville in Fayette County.
Upcoming work in Franklin County includes demolishing a bridge on SR 104 on the south side (to be completed April 3); overhead sign installation on Hamilton Road (completed April 4). Ongoing work includes closing Second Street at Fulton Street in downtown Columbus to install a storm sewer (completed April 14); reducing US 62 on the south side to one lane (completed May 31); US 23 lane reduction on the bridge over SR 104 (completed June 15); and Groveport Road lane reductions at I-270 for bridge work (completed in September).
Finally, the Smothers Road bridge over Hoover Reservoir closed between Schott and Sunbury Roads for repairs, and is expected to be completed June 30. The detour is Schott Road to Walnut Street to Cubbage Road to Central College Road to Sunbury Road to Smothers Road, or vice versa.
According to information provided by ODOT, the five major projects in Delaware County this season are:
- Culvert repair just north of Worthington-Galena Road under I-71, to begin in May and end in October. The $636,000 project will involve temporary lane and shoulder closures on Worthington-Galena Road.
- Resurfacing SR 203 and US 23, a $7,171,934 project. This project will resurface SR 203 from SR 37 to the Marion County Line; and resurface US 23 from south of SR 229 to the Marion County Line. It began last August and will be completed in September, with single-lane closures on US 23 and maintaining two-way traffic on 203 with flag personnel.
- Stabilizing the slope that supports SR 315 north and south of SR 750 using plug pile walls, and replacing 12 culverts. Begun in January, the $2,864,073 project is expected to be completed in October. There will be closures of SR 315 — a total of 64 days south of SR 750, and 100 days north of SR 750.
- Resurfacing projects in Delaware and Franklin counties, totaling $1,829,458. Flag personnel will be maintaining one lane of two-way traffic in Delaware County from US 36/SR 3 to Joe Walker Road, US 36 in Delaware County from just east of I-71 to SR 61; SR 605 in Franklin County from Schleppi Road to the Delaware County Line, and US 62 in Franklin County from Central College Road to the Licking County Line. The resurfacing starts in April and is expected to be finished in September.
- State Route 315 resurfacing in Delaware County from the Franklin County Line to Jewett Road, from SR 750 to US 23; and from Clubview Boulevard in Franklin County to the Delaware County Line. The $1,021,242 project will start in June and end in October. Coordinated with the slope stabilization project, there will be short-term lane closure and flag personnel.
The total cost of those projects is $13,522,707.
ODOT Director Jerry Wray asked drivers in work zones not to speed or follow to closely and pay attention to directions and signs. In 2016, there were 6,041 crashes in work zones, resulting in 28 deaths, 186 serious injuries and 810 minor injuries.
“We have seen an increase in the number of traffic deaths in Ohio over the last three years, and we are working hard to reverse this disturbing trend,” Wray said.
For more information, visit www.transportation.ohio.gov/dist6