COLUMBUS (Wednesday, December 21, 2016) – Ohio highways will be full of travelers for the holidays.
Traffic volumes in Ohio increase an average of 37 percent for the Christmas holiday and 33 percent for New Year’s Day. The last time the holiday fell on a Sunday – 2011 – the busiest travel days were the Thursday before Christmas and the Monday after Christmas.
AAA is predicting a record 103.1 million Americans, including 4.2 million Ohioans, will be traveling more than 50 miles from home. More than nine in 10 will be driving to their destination, the highest total volume since AAA began tracking holiday travel data in 2001.
“The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family and friends,” said Director Jerry Wray. “We will do everything we can to make sure everyone gets where they need to go safely and on time. However, we also need drivers to do their part by following the speed limit, avoiding distractions, and making sure they and their passengers are wearing a seat belt.”
So far this year, there have been 1,094 traffic deaths in Ohio. Sadly, 319 of those deaths involved people not wearing a seat belt.
During high-travel holidays, ODOT makes every effort possible to reduce the size and scope of work zones. In some cases that’s not possible. Ohio has invested $2 billion into the state’s infrastructure this year with more than 1,000 construction projects in progress.
Travelers are encouraged to download Ohio’s official traffic app, OHGO, before they head out the door. The app, which is available for Apple and Android devices, allows users to view real-time traffic speeds, more than 600 live traffic cameras, construction zone information, and traffic alerts. You can even create a customized route and get alerts pushed directly to your phone.
Below are some of the state’s highway projects that could impact your travel:
State Route 104, Pike County
SR 104 is closed between SR 552 and TR 420 (Boswell Run Road) as part of the Lake White Dam rehabilitation and bridge replacement project. In addition, SR 551 is closed between its junction with SR 104 and CR 93 (Bricker Road), near the park office. Through traffic is being detoured by way of U.S. 23 and SR 32, and local traffic to the Lake White region is being detoured via SR 552 and SR 220. Roadway construction is anticipated to be completed by summer 2017, and the lake is expected to be restored for the fishing and boating season in 2017.
Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway, Scioto County
Width restrictions are in effect on U.S. 23, between SR 728 and CR 55 (Fairground Road), and on U.S. 52, between the SR 140 and the CR 550/Wheelersburg exits, for bridge, ramp and wall construction. Although both routes are open to two lanes of travel in each direction, they are restricted to 12-foot lanes, and a reduced speed limit is also in effect at both locations.
Interstate 270/State Route 315/U.S. Route 23, Franklin County (North Side)
The speed limit is reduced to 55 mph on I-270 between U.S. 23 and SR 315 as major construction to build new ramps and bridges is ongoing. Motorists should be aware of new ramp configurations:
· Drivers coming from U.S. 23 south to I-270 west will be on the ramp for a mile and pass over SR 315 before using the temporary ramp to merge onto I-270 west.
· I-270 west traffic exiting at SR 315 will exit sooner – merge into the right lane for SR 315 north, stay in left lane on the ramp for SR 315 south.
· Finally, traffic coming from SR 315 north to I-270 should stay in the left lane on the ramp. Drivers will go a mile on the ramp and travel under U.S. 23 before merging onto I-270 east.
State Route 315, Franklin County (North Side)
SR 315 north is reduced to one lane north of the ramp to I-270 east. SR 315 south is reduced to one lane between the ramp to I-270 east and Wilson Bridge Rd.
Interstate 70 widening project between Interstate 270 and Hilliard Rome Road
· Slow down—all travel lanes through this construction work zone are not the standard 12 feet. Some lanes are 11’ feet wide.
· All exits are maintained during this ‘crossover’ phase.
· There is no change to the exits from eastbound I-70 to go south or north on I-270. Those exits will function as they do today.
· Use extra caution on the exit ramp from I-70 east to I-270 north because of the curve on the ramp which existed before construction started.
· Motorists coming from I-270 and wanting to head east on I-70, will not have to enter the crossover.
Drivers should expect this crossover to be in place by Thursday, December 22 but could change depending on weather.
Interstate 70, Belmont County
I-70 twin bridge replacements on Lady Bend Hill near U.S. 40 (Exit 204) between Morristown and Barnesville. Two lanes of traffic are maintained in each direction.
U.S. Route 22/State Route 7, Jefferson County
Construction along U.S. 22, SR 7, and University Blvd. Ramps and new intersections will connect SR 7 south of the current University Blvd. intersection as well as a new intersection along University Blvd. The ramps leading onto the Veterans Memorial Bridge from University Blvd. and from U.S. 22 to Seventh St. and University Blvd. will be reconfigured as well. Traffic is maintained.
State Route 7, Jefferson County
SR 7 is reduced to one lane between Brilliant and Rush Run for landslide repairs.
Interstate 75, Miami County
I-75 between CR 25A in Piqua and U.S. 36 will have 24-hour lane width restrictions. Lanes are 12 feet in this area. Drivers should stay alert as there is construction taking place. Two lanes will remain open in each direction.
Interstate 70, Montgomery County
I-70 between Airport Access Rd. and SR 48 is under construction. Two lanes of traffic will remain open to motorists in each direction. Motorists should remain alert as there is a great deal of work being done in this area.
U.S. Route 42 (Pearl Road), Medina County
U.S. 42, from just south of Harding St. to just south of Fenn Rd., has intermittent lane closures possible along the project corridor.
Interstate 76/State Route 94, Medina County
I-76, at its interchange with SR 94, currently has the inside and outside shoulders closed. SR 94 (High St.) in the city of Wadsworth has intermittent lane closures possible along the project corridor.
Interstate 80 in Trumbull County
The following lane restrictions and ramp closures are in place along the I-80 corridor:
• Traffic on I-80 eastbound between Salt Springs Rd. and U.S. 422 is shifted over to the westbound lanes via a crossover condition. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained in each direction with all traffic placed on the I-80 westbound lanes.
• The ramp from I-80 eastbound to U.S. 422 is CLOSED through July 2017. Detour is posted.
• The ramp from U.S. 422 to I-80 westbound is CLOSED through September 2017. Detour is posted.
• The ramp from SR 11 southbound to I-80 eastbound is CLOSED through September 2017. Detour is posted.
This work is part of a $91.5 million project to widen I-80 between SR 11 and SR 193. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by late July 2018.
U.S. 6/State Route 2 (West Shoreway) Conversion, Lakefront West, Cleveland
SR 2 is restricted to two lanes in each direction between Lake Avenue and the Main Avenue Bridge during this work through spring 2017 as crews work on the new tree lined median.
Interstate 75, Lucas County
I-75 from I-475 in Toledo to the I-75/280 interchange, is reduced to two lanes. 11-foot lane width restrictions and reduced speed limits are in place in the work zone. Various exit and entrance ramp closures are in place. Detours are posted.
Interstate 75, Wood County
Southbound I-75, between Eagleville Road and CR 99, is reduced to two lanes. The remainder of I-75 between Perrysburg and Findlay is open to three lanes. Lane restrictions will resume on I-75 from Perrysburg to Findlay following the holiday. The rest areas south of U.S. 6 remain closed for renovations.
State Route 2/Anthony Wayne Bridge, Lucas County
Eastbound SR 2/Anthony Wayne Bridge, between Broadway Street and Oak Street, is reduced to one lane for bridge painting.
State Route 536, Monroe County
The westbound lane of SR 536 is closed from 0.23 miles west of CR 46 to Long Ridge for an emergency landslide repair. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. The estimated completion date is December 30, 2016.
State Route 124, Meigs County
The northbound lane of SR 124 is closed from 0.5 miles north of TR 402 to the Athens County line for an emergency landslide repair. A 12-foot width restriction is in place. The estimated completion date is December 30, 2016.
Interstate 75, Hamilton County
Reconstruct the I-75/Hopple Street interchange. Eastbound I-74 is reduced to one lane off northbound I-75. While the permanent work zone restrictions remain in place, work is suspended over the holiday and there will be no additional lane closures.
Interstate 71, Hamilton County
Interstate 71/Lytle Tunnel project and rebuilding the I-71 bridge decks north of the Lytle Tunnel. The Second Street ramp to northbound I-71 is closed. The detour is Main Street to Fifth Street to I-71. Two lanes of northbound I-71 traffic will be maintained. In addition, the Third Street ramp from southbound I-71 is closed. The detour is Gilbert to East Eighth to Sycamore to Third Street. While the permanent work zone restrictions remain in place, work is suspended over the holiday and there will be no additional lane closures.
Information for this story was provided by ODOT.