The money will go towards toll road upgrades, mainline pavement replacement, resurfacing, the bridge and more this year.
BEREA, Ohio – A big year is in store for the Ohio Turnpike. Yes, that will mean orange barrels and construction projects, but also modernized toll services and safer roads.
On Tuesday, the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission announced that it had approved a budget of $233 million for improvement projects in 2022. The money will be spent on toll road upgrades, pavement replacement main, resurfacing, bridge and other projects for this year.
Along with news about upcoming projects comes a reminder from toll highway officials to slow down in work zones. There were 1,443 vehicle accidents in Ohio Turnpike work zones from 2016 to 2020, an average of 289 accidents per year over the same five-year period, according to statistics provided by the Department of Ohio Public Safety.
“Excessive speed in work zones is the leading cause of accidents,” Ferzan Ahmed, executive director of the toll highway commission, said in a statement. “Highway Patrol will conduct speed checks, including overhead checks, at Ohio Turnpike work zones during the construction season.”
Here’s how the $233 million in investments are distributed:
Toll Collection System Modernization Projects ($76.2 million):
- Construction of the new Westgate Toll Plaza 4 main line in Edon, Ohio (Williams County);
- Construction of the new Toll Plaza 211 main line in Newton Falls, Ohio (Trumbull County);
- Eastgate Toll Plaza 239 Main Line Renovation in New Springfield, Ohio (Mahoning County);
- Expansion of Toll Plaza 64 (Wood County) and Toll Plaza 152 (Lorain County);
- Infrastructure upgrades to install new toll equipment at 20 interchanges from Toll Plaza 52 to Toll Plaza 209 (Lucas, Wood, Sandusky, Erie, Lorain, Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage and Trumbull counties);
- Automatic traffic recorders at nine toll plazas (Williams, Fulton, Trumbull and Mahoning counties);
- Weigh-in-motion systems at three kilometer posts (counties of Ottawa, Lorain and Portage);
- Installation of new tolling materials/equipment at 21 existing toll plazas and three new toll plazas.
“We are about a year away from open road tolling on the Ohio Turnpike, which is expected to debut in the spring of 2023. Once complete, our E-ZPass customers will be able to travel the full length of the 241-mile Ohio Turnpike ‘highway speeds without stopping,’ adds Ahmed. “Customers, who save an average of 33% on tolls with EZPass, will continue to receive reduced toll rates when using entry and exit lanes without an E-ZPass gate. Motorists without E-ZPass will still have the ability to exit the toll highway and pay their tolls in cash or by credit card on closed toll lanes.
Three main track pavement replacement projects ($65.7 million):
- Pavement replacement, new ramps and new site construction Westgate Toll Plaza 4 (Williams County)
- Pavement replacement, new ramps and construction of the new Toll Plaza 211 site (Trumbull County)
- Pavement replacement, new ramps and renovation of current site Toll Plaza 239 (Mahoning County)
Four resurfacing projects, which will remove and replace asphalt, upgrade guardrails and other roadway work ($36.2 million):
- All three lanes and all shoulders in the westerly and easterly directions from mile post 73.95 to 80.5 (Wood, Ottawa and Sandusky counties).
- Right and center lanes and right shoulder of mile post 178.05 to 185.65 (Summit County) and ramp resurfacing at exit 187 (Portage County). NOTE: There will be long-term lane closures on the main line of up to two lanes in each direction during the day with single lane (one lane traffic) areas restricted at night.
- The ramps at exit 118 (Erie County).
- The car and truck parking areas at the Great Lakes and towpath service plazas at Mile 170.1 (Cuyahoga County).
Five bridge projects, which include widening and replacement of the deck, removal and painting of 11 bridges ($31.6 million):
- Widening and Replacing the Main Line Bridge Deck at Mile Post 40.3 on State Route 109 and Mile Post 40.5 on the Indiana and Ohio Railroad in Pike Township (Fulton County).
- Removal of the Main Line Bridge at Mile Post 98.9 over the abandoned rail line and redevelopment of the Main Line Bridge at Mile Post 99.1 on State Route 510 in Riley Township, County of Sandusky).
- Eastbound deceleration ramp bridge replacement from exit 151 at milepost 151.3 and new ramp bridge deck on Lorain Road at milepost 152.3 in North Ridgeville, Lorain County; and resurfacing the Jennings Road Overhead Bridge at Mile Post 153.9 in Olmsted Township, Cuyahoga County.
- Reconstruction of the East Edgerton Road Overhead Bridge at Mile Post 169.6 in Broadview Heights, Cuyahoga County and replacement of the State Route 21/Brecksville Road Bridge at Mile Post 172.9 in Richfield, Summit County. NOTE: Traffic will be diverted onto East Edgerton Road. Traffic will be maintained on State Route 21 and there will be temporary lane closures on the main line.
- Final paving and painting of mainline bridges at Mile Post 222.7 on Turner Road and Mile Post 222.8 on Kirk Road in Austintown Township (Mahoning County).
According to officials, in order to limit delays for motorists, the Ohio Turnpike Commission works to maintain two lanes of traffic in all three lane sections of the tollway during peak hours. Some single lane areas will be required but will mostly occur during off-peak hours or at night.
Most projects are expected to be completed by December 2022.