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Construction plans include Airport Highway widening

Airport Highway widening near Spring Meadows, State Rt. 2 improvements in eastern Lucas County, and several other area highway projects remain on the state's agenda following an annual update of its five-year construction plan.

The Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) has approved a $300 million annual program that includes fiscal 2002 and 2004 contracts for the I-280 Maumee River Crossing, along with smaller projects spread throughout the five-year period, which ends in fiscal 2006.

An advisory council committee dealing with new bridges to replace railroad crossings has moved an overpass on State Rt. 269 in Bellevue up from the “planning” list to the “construction” list.

For northwest Ohio, the railroad project was the only significant change to the list since December, when the advisory council released a draft version of the construction program. Included are all projects that are expected to cost more than $5 million and will add capacity to the state's highway system or, in the case of railroad projects, eliminate or reduce train-related congestion.

“There weren't any surprises there,” said Richard Martinko, district deputy director at ODOT's Bowling Green office.

The Bowling Green district, which includes Port Clinton, Tiffin, Fostoria, Toledo, Napoleon, and Bryan, is “in a pretty good position with TRAC,'' Mr. Martinko said. “In the next two years we have about $220 million of major new money, which is over a quarter of the statewide total.”

Most of that money is dedicated to the Maumee River Crossing, which is budgeted to consume $215 million from the major-projects budget, including $31.7 million during the fiscal year that ends June 30, and $24.3 million next fiscal year.

Much of the project will be financed with bonds, with annual $25 million payments to come out of future years' construction-program budgets.

Other regional projects on the list include:

  • $13.9 million to widen Airport Highway (State Rt. 2) to six lanes between I-475 and Holloway Road, including construction of a permanent median barrier. Construction is scheduled to begin next year.

  • $14 million toward creating a “Super 2” roadway along State Rt. 2 between North Curtice Road in Jerusalem Township and Camp Perry west of Port Clinton. A “Super 2” is a two-lane highway with wide shoulders, moderate curves, and turn lanes at intersections. Funding begins during fiscal 2003.

  • $10.8 million toward replacing the State Rt. 420 and U.S. 20-23 intersection in northern Wood County with an interchange starting in 2004.

  • $10.8 million toward widening State Rt. 53 between the Ohio Turnpike and the Fremont bypass, starting in 2003.

  • $3 million, in fiscal 2002, toward the construction of U.S. 30 between Upper Sandusky and Bucyrus. Another $72 million was set aside during fiscal 2001, and construction has begun.

    Mike Ciotola, ODOT's manager for the railroad grade-separation program, said construction of the State Rt. 269 bridge is expected to begin during fiscal 2005. A contract for another program project, the Seaman Road overpass in Oregon, is scheduled to be awarded tomorrow, he said.

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