(Toledo News Now) - There's a big celebration under way along the new U.S. Route 24. The area has been under construction for about four years and is nearly complete. Ohio Department of Transportation officials say the new road could save dozens of lives.
The road project has been decades in the making. People started voicing concerns over traffic on the current two-lane route back in the 50s. After lots of planning and persistence by residents, the state has now completed construction on a brand new Route 24.
The Ohio Department of Transportation District Two announces that on Aug. 29, it will begin the process of opening the new four-lane U.S. Route 24 alignment, from Waterville to Napoleon in phases. The cost of the Ohio portion alone is $400 million.
ODOT District Two officials announced both directions of US-24, from SR 109 to Fallen Timbers Lane, are now open.
In a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, co-chair of Fort to Port Improvement, Jamie Black, said the new route is the result of determination by different people.
"For me, it was because of my involvement with the Waterville Fire Department, and the accidents we would see. Everybody has a different reason for being involved, but 90 percent of it comes down to a safety issue," said Black.
About one-third of the vehicles that travel US-24 are trucks. ODOT officials, along with those living in the area, hope it will alleviate some of the dangers and congestion on the old route.
There's still more construction needed to be done in Indiana, but nearly all of the road in northwest Ohio will be open by the end of the week.
Details on the opening:
On Aug. 29, westbound US-24 will open to traffic near Fallen Timbers Lane.
Additionally at this time, the ramps to/from US-24 to/from SR 64, SR 295, and SR 109 will open. This includes both eastbound and westbound US-24 traffic.
The new eastbound US-24 (at the Napoleon tie in) will open to traffic approximately six to 24 hours later for the traffic pattern change. Motorists will use current eastbound US-24.
Through November, lane restrictions are possible in both directions of the new US-24 between SR 109 and CR 11 for tie in work.
Effective immediately, through November, the former US-24 between SR 109 and TR 10 is closed for tie in work. Detours are SR 109 and the new US-24.
The project is expected to be complete in May 2013. All work is weather permitting.
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