Construction season kicks off with focus on improving economy, safety

Construction season kicks off with focus on improving economy, safety

(WOIO) - The

is launching a $2.4 billion investment in transportation construction, which will include the state's first ever public-private partnership. It's all part of

, which is in its third year, to advance some of the state's largest projects.

ODOT's 2015 construction season includes a state record 990 projects – up 50 from 2014.

The state's first ever public-private partnership -- or P3 -- begins construction in Scioto County this spring. The Portsmouth Gateway Group is set to build a $429 million, 16-mile highway that will be the state's largest, modern earthwork project to date. The Portsmouth Bypass is a four-lane limited access highway from U.S. Route 23 north of Lucasville to U.S. Route 52 near Sciotoville. It is designed to complete the missing link of the Appalachian Highway System in Ohio and fuel economic development in the region.

"New interchanges and wider roads are the focus of this year's construction season," said ODOT director Jerry Wray. "While our number one priority is to maintain what we already have, this year's projects place a strong emphasis on improving the economy, safety, and overall quality of life in Ohio."

Highlights of ODOT's construction program include:

• 297 bridge and culvert projects, totaling $398 million

• 278 pavement projects, totaling $523 million

• 219 safety projects, totaling $250 million

• 38 major construction projects, totaling more than $1 billion

• 81 county bridge replacements through

Projects designed to help residents and businesses in District 4 include:

• The reconstruction of I-271 between Broadview Road and the Ohio Turnpike in Summit County, totaling $46.7 million

• Widening of I-271 in Summit County between just north of State Route 8 to the Cuyahoga County line, totaling $44.5 million

• Widening of I-80 between State Route 46 and State Route 193/Belmont Avenue in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, totaling $108.4 million

• The reconstruction of I-90 between just east of Clay Street to the Penn Central Railroad in Ashtabula County, totaling $68 million

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"We are working hard in District 4 to provide easy movement of people and goods from place to place and making the roadway system work better for all Ohio motorists," Tony Urankar District 4 deputy director said. "Most importantly, motorists need to remember safety and move over when they see construction vehicles on the side of the roadways."

As a reminder, this is the second year that

extends to construction and utility vehicles, as well as law enforcement, safety and towing vehicles. It requires motorists to cautiously shift over one lane -- or slow down if changing lanes is not possible -- when passing any vehicle with flashing lights on the side of a road.

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