VALLEY VIEW, OH (WOIO) - "While most states have been struggling to tackle their highway infrastructure needs, here in Ohio we've worked to solve our transportation funding issues and keep up the pace of repairs and improvements," said Gov. John R. Kasich. "As a result, we've seen three record-setting years of highway construction, and getting this project done sooner is one more sign of that progress."
The major rehabilitation project on Ohio's busiest bridge will happen two years earlier than expected, saving commuters time and taxpayers money.
"This project both improves our infrastructure and puts people to work," Armond Budish, Cuyahoga County Executive said. "This bridge is in need of repairs."
The I-480 Valley View Bridge carries an estimated 180,000 vehicles across the Cuyahoga River daily. The 4,100 foot twin-bridge structure, which opened in 1977, is in need of a deck replacement and other repairs.
Because work will start in 2017 instead of 2019, as initially projected, taxpayers will save nearly $18 million.
"Today we are here to celebrate the I-480 bridge," said Rick Dalton. "Somehow the governor has found a way to create money and create jobs."
The high volume of traffic on the bridge makes it impossible to reduce the number of lanes during construction. To deal with this, the Ohio Department of Transportation will construct a new four-lane structure in the median. It will also help ease congestion at the busy I-77/I-480 interchange after construction.
The $281 million project is scheduled to be completed in 2023.
This project is one of many that has been accelerated in Ohio because of innovative financing and prioritization at the Ohio Department of Transportation. Innovative financing and finding ways to operate more efficiently has allowed Ohio to jump start a number of key transportation improvements without having to raise the gas tax.
"We have made differences in the lives of Ohio through our transportation program," said Jerry Wray, Director Ohio Department of Transportation.
Since Gov. Kasich took office in 2011, the state has invested $12.5 billion into nearly 6,000 projects that improve safety and keep people and goods moving in Ohio.
Kasich has declined to endorse Donald Trump for president, whose statements on race, religion and immigration defy the unifying message of Kasich's 2016 campaign. Trump has said he won't invite speakers who don't endorse him.
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