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The Ohio Department of Transportation has announced a $4 million investment in transportation infrastructure improvement projects along the Ohio Turnpike over the next two years. The investment is part of the state's Turnpike Mitigation Program and includes $1.1 million for four projects locally in Fulton, Wood, and Ottawa counties.
"As ODOT officials traveled the northern part of Ohio discussing with local leaders how we could best leverage the Turnpike, we heard time and time again of needs that were not being met because of the mere existence of the Turnpike, and the impacts it has on surrounding local roadways," said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. "In response, we developed a program to award money to local communities in need of transportation-related improvements along the Turnpike."
The Turnpike Mitigation Program was started to help fund projects within one mile of the Turnpike. The projects include bridge preservation, minor pavement resurfacing, noise walls, drainage repairs and other transportation improvements. Announced in December 2013, the program received 41 project funding applications, which were reviewed by a committee comprised of ODOT and Turnpike representatives.
In northwest Ohio, the program will fund:
- $140,000 for pavement repairs at the intersection of Libbey Road and state Route 420 in Wood County
- $600,000 for embankment and pavement repairs to Township Road 22 overpass of the Turnpike in Fulton County
- $90,000 for pavement and drainage repairs on the Billman Road overpass in Ottawa County
- $310,000 for embankment and guardrail repairs on the Portage River South Road overpass in Ottawa County
Local authorities are grateful for the help because the guardrail on TR 22 is starting to fall over.
"The ultimate outcome would have been closing the road, just because the significant cost of making this improvement in the township's limited budget. So it was going to take some outside funding to make it possible," said Frank Onweller, a Fulton County engineer.
These projects are possible because of bonding.
"Right now, we are at about a billion dollars, and northwest Ohio, this year alone, is going to see over $280 million in projects, as a result of the Ohio Turnpike, by leverage of the additional value from the bonding," explained Todd Audet, ODOT's District 2 deputy director.
Through the Turnpike Mitigation Program, ODOT is also offering nearly $5 million for the detailed analysis and construction of noise walls in several communities. The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission must approve the recommended projects since construction will take place within the Turnpike right-of-way. The commission is scheduled to discuss the noise wall projects at its June 16 meeting.