ODOT may get funding for NW Ohio highway projectsWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
The Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) recommended $103.2 million in new state funding to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for highway improvements in 2010, including four major projects in Northwest Ohio.
TRAC recommended a total of $12.6 million for four major highway projects that could begin in this region in 2010, according to list released by ODOT on March 19.
“It’s great news for Northwest Ohio to get funding for these projects,” said David Dysard, deputy director of ODOT District 2, at the Transportation Summit hosted by Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) March 19 in Toledo.
All four proposed projects are in the preliminary engineering and design stages at this time, according to Theresa Pollick, spokeswoman for ODOT District 2. Final approval of the recommendations by ODOT is expected in May.
Pollick said it’s important to get approval of state funds to begin work on the initial stages of these major highway projects in Lucas and Wood counties.
If it’s approved, ODOT would allocate $5 million toward the planning and design of modifications to the interchange at I-475, US-23 and Central Avenue. The total project could cost an estimated $61 million to complete, according to ODOT.
Another $3.5 million would fund the engineering and design work for the widening of I-75 from Lagrange Street to the I-280 interchange in North Toledo. That project could cost an estimated $44.6 million.
Two other major projects in Wood County were included in the recommendations to ODOT.
TRAC recommended $2 million to fund the planning to add a third lane in each direction of I-75 from Perrysburg to Findlay to accommodate increased traffic on that interstate. The total cost of that project is estimated at $363 million upon completion.
Another $2 million would fund the planning to create a new connection of state Route 18 with I-75 to accommodate CSX Railroad’s national gateway project in North Baltimore. The highway project is expected to cost $18 million.
The CSX National Gateway Intermodal Terminal is a $175 million project designed to create an intermodal facility that will be one of three national freight hubs for rail and trucks, according to TMACOG.
“Intermodal freight needs improvements to the transportation infrastructure to make sure we’re able to take advantage of opportunities in the future,” said Richard Martinko, director of the Intermodal Transportation Institute at the UT.
TRAC, an independent committee, assists ODOT in selecting its largest investments in highway construction projects. TRAC recommended more than $2.5 billion of ODOT funding for its Major New Construction Program from 2010 to 2014.
“We are building our state for the future,” ODOT Director Jolene Molitoris, who also chairs the nine-member TRAC, stated in a press release. “These recommendations reflect Gov. Strickland’s focus on creating jobs and positioning Ohio to compete in the global economy.”
ODOT District 2 is scheduled to receive $170 million in transportation investments in 2010 as part of the state’s “Fix It First” program, Dysard said. ODOT receives most of the funding for its operations and highway construction from the state gasoline tax.
“We’re operating more efficiently by tightening our belts to put more money into projects.” said Dysard.
ODOT District 2 has 48 highway construction projects scheduled for work in 2010 which will be a “record year for us,” Pollick said. The highway projects will be outlined early next month.
One of the district’s largest highway projects is the $168 million realignment and reconstruction of 21.46 miles of state Route 24 between Maumee and Napoleon.
The project is part of the conversion of the two-lane road into a four-lane highway from Toledo to the Indiana line.
Work began on Route 24 in May 2008 and the road is scheduled to open in July 2012, said Pollick. The remainder of that project from Napoleon to the Indiana line is being handled by ODOT District 1.
“It’s not just highways. It’s about the overall transportation system to move goods and people by multiple modes across the state and country,” Dysard said at the local summit.
“We need to invest in rail, passenger rail and alternative energy projects for Ohio to be competitive.”
Dysard said DOT District 2 will complete its first solar installation on I-280 and its first wind turbine on state Route 2 in Ottawa County this year.