2002 Ohio DOT Construction Strategies

by Diana Barnum

The 2002 ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) construction season began with $1.3 billion in replacing and refurbishing bridges, resurfacing, reconstruction, including 68 projects to improve Ohio's interstates.
And ODOT tackled the year with an additional $30 million in construction strategies for reducing construction-related delays to make work zones more convenient and less stressful for motorists.
New strategies include:
Nighttime Paving or Weekend Work
ODOT is limiting some lane closures to off-peak hours, including nighttime and weekends, when fewer motorists are traveling.
Two-Lanes During Daylight Hours on Interstates
Ohio may be the only state in the nation requiring contractors to maintain at least two lanes of traffic in each direction on the interstate during peak hours. Exceptions are only granted under extreme circumstances.
Bridge Widening and Temporary Pavement
To keep at least two lanes open in each direction during the work, bridges will be widened and temporary pavement on highways will be added prior to construction.
Permitted Lane Closure Map
ODOT maps restricted lane and ramp closures based on traffic volumes and times of day.
Incentive/Disincentive Contracts
This program rewards contractors for completing the work early and assess fees for delays.
Longer Work Hours
With significant traffic impact projects, ODOT may pay the contractor for more crews and/or longer work hours or work weeks.
Delay Thresholds
Traffic backups predicted by ODOT's computer software to be more than 3/4 of a mile that require motorists to wait more than 10 minutes are considered unacceptable. The district office must implement strategies to keep traffic moving.
Incident Management Practices
ODOT may call forth tow trucks and vehicles equipped with push bumpers, either on site or on call, to quickly remove incidents such as accidents, stalls and breakdowns in construction work zones.
Construction Communication Plans
To help minimize backups, ODOT will work with local motorists and businesses to educate and prepare them for construction.

Major Ohio projects that include at least one of these congestion-reduction initiatives are:

Reconstruction of Interstate 670 in downtown Columbus - includes contractor disincentives of $20,000 per day. ODOT and the City of Columbus reduced the construction time from four years to 18 months.
Reconstruction on Interstate 71 in Wayne County and Interstate 90 in Cuyahoga County near Bratenahl - will limit lane and ramp closures to nighttime hours. Contractors will be assessed penalty fees for delays.
Building a new interchange on Interstate 75 and 70 in Miami County - ODOT will maintain three lanes in each direction. Crews are working longer hours. And the contractor will be assessed fees for delays.
Pavement replacement projects on I-670 near Grandview and I-270 on the southeast side of Columbus - will consistently maintain two lanes in each direction using temporary pavement. The contractor will be assessed penalty fees for delays.
Central Ohio Projects
During the past four years, central Ohio has undergone the largest highway reconstruction effort in history: $400 million to rebuild and expand portions of I-270 and I-71 on the north side, I-70 on the east side and SR 315. A record 64 projects were booked in 2001 compared to 35 projects in 2002.
Those projects include:
Interstate 670 Projects (Arena District)- 2002 will go down as the year of I-670 ... ODOT opened a new stretch of highway and began final reconstruction on another two.
Contractors began work on the final phase of the Spring-Sandusky Interchange between State Route 315 and I-71 ... a joint project between ODOT and the City of Columbus. When it's completed, travel will be possible along I-670 from the west side of Columbus to the airport for the first time. And ODOT will open a new stretch of I-670 between Grandview Ave. and SR 315.
Interstate 270 - ODOT will resurface and reconstruct aging sections of I-270 on the southeast side of Columbus between I-70 and US 23 and on the west side between I-70 and US 33 in Dublin.
State Route 161 - ODOT will replace deteriorated bridge decks on SR 315 over State Route 3 in Westerville. One lane will be open in each direction.
Projects Outside Franklin County
Outside of Franklin County, there are small resurfacing and bridge repair projects. The completion of the U.S. 35 projects in Fayette County, a combination of relocation and new roadways projects, will make U.S. 35 a four-lane highway from Chillicothe to Dayton. This is expected to encourage economic growth throughout Ross and Fayette counties.
For more information about 2002 road construction projects, contact the Ohio Department of Transportation, 1980 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43223, or visit their website at: www.dot.state.oh.us