The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) continued work on the $36.7-million project for U.S. Route 24. The construction included State Route 424 in Defiance County to just east of State Route 15 west of Defiance. The 2.2-mi. (3.5 km) section is the first of the Fort to Port projects, which will upgrade U.S. 24 to a four-lane highway from Fort Wayne, Ind., to Toledo, Ohio.
“With our location at the crossroads of America, our large manufacturing sector and the seventh largest highway network in the nation, the trucking industry is vital to Ohio’s economic stability. U.S. 24 is a key transportation artery for job creation and economic prosperity in Ohio,” said Governor Bob Taft. “Our Jobs and Progress Plan is stimulating Ohio’s economy and creating new jobs by providing every region of the state with a safe, efficient and modern transportation corridor for the twenty-first century.”
The Jobs and Progress Plan, unveiled in 2003, is a $5-billion, 10-year plan to rebuild Ohio’s urban interstate networks, address high-crash locations and complete the state’s rural macro-corridors, including U.S. 24.
Once completed, Ohio’s macro-corridor network will place more than 90 percent of Ohio’s population within 10 mi. of an adequate highway corridor, providing every region of the state with a modern transportation corridor. With plans to upgrade U.S. Routes 30, 33, 35 and State Route 161 well under way, U.S. 24 is one of the last links to completing Ohio’s macro-corridor system.
“The expansion of U.S. 24 through Northwest Ohio marks the fulfillment of Governor Taft’s commitment to increasing the quality of life for Ohioans by providing an easily accessible, safe and efficient transportation system,” Proctor said.
The completion of this upgrade to U.S. 24 will create a safer, more efficient route through Northwest Ohio. The project will expand the route to a four-lane highway and replace the existing bridges over the Maumee and Tiffin Rivers. The current stretch of U.S. 24 currently carries more traffic than it was designed to handle, including more than 30 percent truck traffic. The mix of commercial and passenger traffic on this rural two-lane route have contributed to a high rate of accidents, according to authorities.
Construction on this section of U.S. 24 will be completed in 2008. The remaining sections of U.S. 24 from the Indiana state line to Toledo continue to move forward in various stages of development.