DARKE COUNTY — The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will invest $2.1 billion in the state’s transportation network this construction season.
In Darke County, ODOT will spend $4.7 million for eight state road projects in 2016.
ODOT projects and expenditures for other counties in District 7 include: three projects ($6.3 million) for Auglaize County; three projects ($3.2 million) for Champaign County; 12 projects ($10.9 million) for Clark County; five projects ($4.1 million) for Logan County; 10 projects ($13.6 million) for Mercer County; eight projects ($8.2 million) for Miami County; 29 projects ($52 million) for Montgomery County; and seven projects ($4.2 million) for Shelby County.
Among Darke County projects, ODOT’s most expensive — slated at $2,354,930 — will be an overlay of U.S. Route 36 and Ohio Route 47 with fine graded aggregate. The U.S. 36 project spans from the Indiana state line to Ohio Route 121. On Ohio 47, the project will run from Union City to Ansonia. It is scheduled to begin July 1 with completion marked for September 30.
Work on a number of state roads in Darke County, including bridge replacements and road resurfacing, is already underway.
The ODOT program is driven by two key components: addressing major critical infrastructure needs today, and introducing an enhanced, data-driven business strategy for maintaining the 43,000 miles of roads and 14,000 bridges on the state system.
ODOT will deliver more than 1,100 projects across the state in 2016. Altogether, they are designed to improve the condition of roads and bridges, increase safety, and make the transportation of people and goods more efficient.
“We’re charged with the care of Ohio’s largest man-made asset — the transportation network,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “We take this very seriously, because investments in our infrastructure are vital to Ohio’s economic growth and development. By maintaining a safe, reliable, and efficient system, we help to create the environment for more jobs, easier commerce, and a stronger Ohio — for today and for tomorrow.”
Of the 1,100 projects in 2016, 157 will focus specifically on safety, at a cost of $256.4 million. The program includes $417.5 million for improving the condition of more than 1,167 bridges and $629.3 million for 6,485 miles of pavement.
ODOT is also adding capacity to the system where it is most needed today, after careful planning, research and project development. This year, the state will invest $207.1 million — or approximately 10 percent of the overall construction budget — in expanding roads to ease current congestion.
The 2016 construction program features 27 projects valued over $10 million, with a combined value of $769 million. It also represents a fourth consecutive year of near-record dollars invested, made possible in large part by Governor Kasich’s Jobs & Transportation Plan. From 2011 to 2016, ODOT has committed roughly $12.5 billion across 5,934 projects — the largest overall transportation investment in Ohio’s history.
As a consequence of record number of work sites, ODOT has seen an alarming rise in crashes and fatalities in Ohio’s work zones, where drivers and passengers are more than twice as likely as workers to be victims. Last year, Ohio recorded 6,035 work zone crashes, the highest number in a decade. Those crashes resulted in 1,150 injuries and 30 deaths.
ODOT warns that a work zone may be a mile of orange barrels, or a single vehicle parked on the side of the road with flashing lights. Whatever the case, Ohio’s Move Over law requires drivers to slow down and, if they can, move over a lane to give roadside workers safe space to perform their jobs.