ODOT announces orange barrel plan for summer

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Get ready for lots of orange barrels on the roads. The Ohio Department of Transportation unveiled on Thursday this year’s construction projects.

Drivers in Trumbull County can expect 22 construction projects with a price tag of about $45 million. Next year, Ohio Turnpike funds will help pay for a project on the Trumbull County portion of Interstate 80.

In Mahoning County, 16 projects are on tap for a total of $63 million. The biggest project continues to be the U.S. Route 224 bridge over Interstate 680.

Work has been going on there for a year already. Ramp and culvert work was done last year and now crews are widening it and doing some rehabilitation work.

“When it is busy, it is a nightmare. I mean trying to get down this street and across the overpass there is bad,” said Boardman resident Neil Parrish

Some businesses on the popular stretch of road are used to lane restrictions. Sport Clips wasn’t open during the first round of construction, but Stylist Tiffiany Marsh said dodging the cones and construction has become commonplace now.

“I’ve become routine to it, but it is a pain in the butt,” said Marsh.

ODOT Public Information Officer Justin Chesnic said one lane is still open in each direction through the construction and it is going to be that way through summer and heading into fall.

Widening the bridge is a big project but also on tap is the resurfacing of Interstate 680 from Route 224 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

“The main thing that is going to be closed is Western Reserve Road,” said Chesnic. “If you are trying to get from one side to the other of 680, you are not going to be able to get over that for about 75 days.”

Approximately $434 million will be spent on construction projects throughout ODOT District 4 this year. Part of that includes work on U.S. Route 422 in Warren where a two-way left turn lane is being constructed and resurfacing is planned between Southern Boulevard and Linda Boulevard.

Statewide, ODOT will spend $2.5 billion on 936 projects this season and create close to 300,000 jobs. That is the biggest price tag in history, with some of the money coming from turnpike bonds.

To prepare business that will be affected, each one is given detour notification brochures.

Ahead of the summer work projects, ODOT officials are also stressing the importance of safety in construction zones.

The state legislature has added construction and maintenance areas to the Move Over Law which went into effect a few months ago.

Motorists need to slow down and change lanes if possible.

ODOT District 4 Deputy Director Anthony Urankar said he is thankful the legislature expanded the law.

“This is great for out highway workers. It is great for our engineers and construction and also for all of us who happen to be out there,” said Urankar.

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