The $114 million widening and reconstruction of Interstate 75 through Findlay and Hancock County completed its third year. The entire project is expected to be completed in fall of 2020.
(Ohio Department of Transportation photo)
Last year was one of significant success for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in northwest Ohio.
"From major construction in partnership with our contractors to significant improvements on our highways by our own workforce, 2019 has been the year we hoped for," said Chris Hughes, deputy director of the Ohio Department of Transportation District 1, headquartered in Lima.
The following are the most notable ODOT accomplishments within northwest Ohio's 16-county region:
- Beam setting for a new bridge on Interstate 75 over the Maumee River began in December. This marks a significant milestone in the overall project which is reconstructing I-75 through the cities of Toledo, Rossford and Northwood in Lucas and Wood counties. The beams for the southbound side of the bridge are currently being set and will continue through January.
- A double roundabout interchange at I-75 and state Route 64 in Bowling Green in Wood County opened this summer. The roundabouts replaced two traffic signals and have greatly improved the functionality of the interchange. These are the first roundabouts in the city which plans to construct more throughout its Wooster Street corridor.
- The $114 million widening and reconstruction of Interstate 75 through Findlay and Hancock County completed its third year. Most notable during 2019 were the construction of ramps and pavement, a double roundabout, and a new bridge at the interchange of I-75 with U.S. 68/state Route 15 and Lima Avenue. The entire project is expected to be completed in fall of 2020.
- A new Clinton Street bridge over the Maumee River in Defiance opened in early December. The $8.3 million project which began in late February opened on time, despite heavy rains in the spring which delayed construction. Work on the project will continue through summer 2020.
Planned Projects Receive Funding
Funding of $79 million was awarded for the widening of Interstate 475 and construction of a new interchange at U.S. 20A in the city of Maumee and Monclova Township, Lucas County. The project will widen I-475 from U.S. 24 to state Route 2 and construct an interchange at U.S. 20A.
This is the last phase of the I-475 widening on the west side of Toledo. The U.S. 20A interchange, which has been talked about for decades, will relieve congestion from the Dussel/Salisbury interchange, provide easy access to Toledo Express Airport and Air National Guard base, and has the support of Dana Incorporated whose world headquarters is located near the area.
Additional Projects Completed
- Last spring, crews in the Ottawa County maintenance garage removed approximately 4,000 tons of lake bottom material including sand, dirt and stone that had washed up onto state Route 357 on South Bass Island (Put-in-Bay). A combination of heavy rain causing high water levels and strong winds from the northeast caused the lake bottom material to be pushed up onto state Route 357, completely blocking the highway.
- A new ODOT outpost was opened last summer in North Baltimore along I-75 in Wood County. The facility serves both ODOT District 1 and District 2, encompassing a 16-county area. It is the first outpost in the state constructed to serve two ODOT districts. The outpost allows for quicker access to the materials and equipment needed to maintain the widened I-75 corridor, saving resources and improving response time to winter storms.
- Last spring, ODOT made pavement repairs on I-75 between I-280 and the Ohio/Michigan state line in advance of a Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reconstruction project on I-75 between the Ohio/Michigan state line and Erie Road. ODOT's pavement repairs equipped our interstate to accommodate the two-year MDOT construction project's plan of maintaining traffic, which has lane restrictions beginning around Ottawa River Road (Exit 209) in Ohio.
- ODOT crews in Paulding, Putnam and Hancock counties collaborated to chip seal 80 lane mi. of state Route 613 from the Indiana/Ohio border across the three counties. The project involved personnel and resources from across the highway management department.
ODOT is approaching 2020 with a renewed focus because its funding future is now clear.
"Economic viability and safety are directly related to a well-maintained and functioning transportation system. Thanks to Governor DeWine and the general assembly's leadership in securing additional funding through the increased gas user fee, we'll be able to continue maintaining and improving the highway system in Ohio for years to come," said Pat McColley, deputy director of ODOT District 2, headquartered in Bowling Green. "The funding will allow us to keep planned projects on their scheduled track, and construct additional projects aimed at improving safety," he said.