The Ohio Department of Transportation will invest $2.1 billion in the state’s transportation network this construction season.
The 2016 program is driven by two key components: addressing major critical infrastructure needs today, and introducing an enhanced, data-driven business strategy for maintaining the 43,000 miles of roads and 14,000 bridges on the state system.
THE 2016 PROGRAM
ODOT will deliver more than 1,100 projects across the state in 2016. Altogether, they are designed to improve the condition of roads and bridges, increase safety, and make the transportation of people and goods more efficient.
“We’re charged with the care of Ohio’s largest man-made asset—the transportation network,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “We take this very seriously, because investments in our infrastructure are vital to Ohio’s economic growth and development. By maintaining a safe, reliable, and efficient system, we help to create the environment for more jobs, easier commerce, and a stronger Ohio—for today and for tomorrow.”
Of the 1,100 projects in 2016, 157 will focus specifically on safety, at a cost of $256.4 million. The program includes $417.5 million for improving the condition of more than 1,167 bridges and $629.3 million for 6,485 miles of pavement.
ODOT is also adding capacity to the system where it is most needed today, after careful planning, research and project development. This year, the state will invest $207.1 million—or approximately 10 percent of the overall construction budget—in expanding roads to ease current congestion.
The 2016 construction program features 27 projects valued over $10 million, with a combined value of $769 million. It also represents a fourth consecutive year of near-record dollars invested, made possible in large part by Governor Kasich’s Jobs & Transportation Plan. From 2011 to 2016, ODOT has committed roughly $12.5 billion across 5,934 projects—the largest overall transportation investment in Ohio’s history.
As it has for decades, ODOT is committing roughly 90 percent of this year’s construction budget to activities related to taking care of existing roads and bridges. This year, the department is introducing an enhanced three-part strategy to strengthen its preservation efforts.
The first component is data, which ODOT gathers and analyzes through advanced software systems. Following a decade of refinement, the data now drives decisions related to the second component: a range of preservation treatments such as asphalt, microsurfacing, and bridge cleaning among many others. The third component, collaboration, unifies the work plans of ODOT’s planning and maintenance divisions, creates greater statewide consistency, and depends on strong partnerships between ODOT and its business contractors.
“In order to take care of our transportation network, we have to accurately measure it. That information helps us determine the right actions to take, at the right time, and in the right places, for everything from replacing a culvert on a two-lane state road to adding lanes to an interstate,” said Director Wray. “With greater consistency and collaboration across the state, we are making sound business decisions on behalf of Ohio. Once again, this is for the benefit of our transportation system now and into the future.”
ODOT’s preservation plan is estimated to create savings that will redirect approximately $300 million back into safety, capacity and preservation projects over the next six years.
DISTRICT 3 INFO
· There will be 81 projects active in the eight-county region of north central Ohio; of those, 70 are new construction in 2016. The total investment in ODOT District 3 is $170 million.
· Over $12 million invested along State Route 94, including the interchange with Interstate 76 in to widen and rehabilitate the corridor in Medina County.
· Nearly $20 million will be invested in US Route 42 to widen and improve the corridor in Medina County.
A CALL FOR WORK ZONE SAFETY
As a consequence of record number of work sites, ODOT has seen an alarming rise in crashes and fatalities in Ohio’s work zones, where drivers and passengers are more than twice as likely as workers to be victims. Last year, Ohio recorded 6,035 work zone crashes, the highest number in a decade. Those crashes resulted in 1,150 injuries and 30 deaths.
A work zone may be a mile of orange barrels, or a single vehicle parked on the side of the road with flashing lights. Whatever the case, Ohio’s Move Over law requires drivers to slow down and, if they can, move over a lane to give roadside workers safe space to perform their jobs.