Governor Bob Taft joined Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor and local officials to kick off the $99-million Wilmington Bypass project to relocate State Route 73 north of the city of Wilmington.
“This bypass is a priority for residents and businesses,” said Taft. “It is a true example of state and local leaders working together to develop a project that will benefit the entire region. I am proud to say that the state of Ohio is fulfilling its commitment to southwest Ohio by awarding this project on time.”
Through the governor’s $5-billion Jobs and Progress Plan to rebuild Ohio’s urban arteries, complete rural routes, increase safety and reduce congestion, ODOT committed to selling the first phase of the project in 2006. ODOT awarded the $8.5-million contract for the first phase of construction on Oct. 12.
Minor mobilization and preparatory work such as utility relocation and surveying will begin in 2006 and continue through the winter. Major construction will begin in 2007.
“This project marks the launch of a series of major investments into southwest Ohio including projects to rebuild Interstate 275, the Interstate 75 corridor and Interstate 71,” Proctor said. “Overall, Ohio will invest more than $1 billion into the region’s highway system to reduce congestion, increase safety and upgrade it to accommodate 21st century needs.”
Construction of the Wilmington Bypass is critical to improving the infrastructure to provide a safe, efficient route that can handle growing volumes of traffic. The completion of the Bypass will reduce congestion and truck traffic in and around the city of Wilmington, reduce truck traffic and noise in residential neighborhoods, reduce accidents, and keep the region competitive for economic growth. The promise of the bypass has already yielded positive results for the region as it was a factor in DHL’s decision to stay in Ohio, retaining 6,000 jobs for the state with the possibility of an additional 900 full and part-time jobs being created.
The Wilmington Bypass will be constructed as a four-lane highway in three phases with major work on the first phase scheduled to begin in early 2007. Phase one runs a length of 1.42 mi. (2.3 km) from Airborne Road to U.S. Route 22/3. Phase two will run from U.S. 22/3 to U.S. Route 68 with construction scheduled for 2008. Phase three will run from U.S. 68 to SR 73 with construction scheduled for 2009. It is anticipated each phase will take two construction seasons, with all construction completed by 2010.