They may amount to several years of headaches for some Tri-State motorists, but hundreds of road projects scheduled across the state of Ohio will bring new jobs and a better way of life to many residents.
CINCINNATI -- They may amount to several years of headaches for some Tri-State motorists, but hundreds of road projects scheduled across the state of Ohio will bring new jobs and a better way of life to many residents.
That was the message Gov. John R. Kasich delivered Thursday at a news conference to announce the start of road construction season for 2014.
In 2014, $2.5 billion is being put to use in 936 such transportation projects across the state, about 100 of which are centered in southwest Ohio. That includes $1.5 billion in roadway resurfacing projects and 84 interstate safety upgrades.
It's also going toward repairing or replacing 30 bridges as part of the new $14 million County Bridge Program. One of the projects is improving the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge between Fort Ancient and Oregonia, Ohio.
The projects range in cost from as little as $133,000 to re-pave a portion of State Route 444 in Fairborn to more than $88 million for the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge project.
Kasich said during the press conference that this is the most extensive, statewide initiative in the past 10 years.
RELATED: Learn more about Ohio transportation projects
Locally, motorists will see work either begin or continue on a number of transportation projects including:
Completion dates for those projects range from the end of 2014 through summer 2017. (See more information on the projects below)
A series of other projects are in the works for various parts of southwest portion of the state, considered District 8 by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). The region includes Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Greene, Hamilton, Preble and Warren counties.
J. Brian Cunningham, District 8 communications manager, said the price tag for construction on local projects, some of which are already underway, is approximately $600 million. That figure is variable and only reflects construction costs, he added.
"(The cost estimate) includes old projects and new projects that will be completed years in the future so the price isn't easy to figure out," Cunningham said. "Typically what we do is we'll have a cost estimate analysis and then there's a bidding process that companies go through. We'll then take the lowest bid (for the project)."
The funds used to pay for the projects are coming primarily from state and federal gas taxes.
Funds dedicated to transportation issues are split into two pools: maintenance and operation that are split throughout the state and a competitive pool that includes major new construction projects. Projects in the latter category are ranked based on need and cost.
"Each project is presented to the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC), reviewed and given a number, cost score. TRAC then allocates the funds" said Cunningham.
Members of the council receive appointments to their positions.
Cunningham said there were a number of projects on I-75 that were initially pushed back to 2030 because of monetary considerations. But due to funds from the Ohio Turnpike construction on those projects are now slated to begin as early 2016.
Kasich unlocked the value of the turnpike to bond $1.5 billion to help get the necessary funds for several projects that were pushed back in recent years.
The Ohio Turnpike is partially or entirely funding multiple phases of five different projects in northeast Ohio that will begin or continue this year, according to the governor.
"Money from the turnpike, combined with federal, state and local investments over six years, will allow for $3 billion in new infrastructure spending -- and much of that work begins this year," Kasich said in a release.
Cunningham said his
office believes the projects will make money for the state and businesses by breaking up congestion in some areas and giving more direct to, from and by many spheres of local economic interest that were less accessible in the past.
"Certainly traffic volume, location and congestion were looked at while these decisions were being made," he said. The projects will also make it easier to get "goods from 'A' to 'B' and that helps keep the economy going."
In addition to improved traffic conditions and accessibility to businesses, the Jobs and Transportation Plan will put more Ohioans back to work building some of the state’s largest transportation improvement initiatives, according Kasich.
“Ohio is leading the Midwest in job creation over the past three years and our highways are critical to our ability to keep our job creation momentum," he said. “By thinking creatively, we were able to develop a solution that will allow us to move ahead sooner with some key projects across the state and as a result, the future of our roadways is much better than it was a few years ago.”
It's unclear exactly how many jobs the projects will create but it's "significant," according to Cunningham.
"It's hard to say exactly how many jobs the projects will create because some people are hired directly and others are hired indirectly," he said. "They're definitely job creators."
Below is a breakdown of the major local projects:
Interstate 71/MLK Interchange Description: Construction of new interchange at I-71 and Martin Luther King Drive Ohio County: Hamilton Estimated Construction Cost: $90 million Estimated Start: July 2014 Estimated Completion: July 2017 Click here for more information
Interstate 275/State Route 32 Interchange Reconstruction Description: Reconstruction of I-275/SR 32 interchange to add lanes and eliminate access point conflicts to improve safety and traffic flow on SR 32 and the I-275/SR 32 and Eastgate Boulevard interchanges. Additional work taking place in the Eastgate area is occurring in three phases:
Phase 1: Eastgate North Frontage Road Phase 2: Reconstruction of Eastgate Boulevard over SR 32 Phase 3: I-275/SR 32 Interchange Improvements
The construction of each of these projects builds upon the next. The improvements taking place along the Eastgate North Frontage Road (Eastgate North Drive) leads to the work being done on Eastgate Boulevard over SR 32, which sets the stage for the work to be completed as part of the I-275/SR 32 Interchange Improvements project. Ohio County: Clermont Estimated Construction Cost: $31.9 million Start: July 2013 Estimated Completion: October 2015 Click here for more information
Interstate 71/Fields Ertel Interchange Upgrade Description: Construction of a loop ramp to relieve congestion improve safety for all who travel through the area, and expand access to business and shopping at the Fields Ertel/Montgomery-Mason intersection. Ohio County: Hamilton and Warren Estimated Construction Cost: $7.4 million Start: March 2013 Estimated Completion: October 2016 Click here for more information Interstate 75/Mitchell Avenue Interchange Reconstruction Description: Reconstruction of 1.2 miles of I-75 including the replacement of structures over Clifton Avenue and Mitchell Avenue. Improvements to Mitchell Avenue and adjacent interchange. Ohio County: Hamilton Estimated Construction Cost: $54.6 million Start: June 2011 Estimated Completion: September 2014 Click here for more information
Interstate 75/Hopple Street Interchange Improvement Description: Reconstruction and improvement of the I-75/Hopple Street Interchange. Four lanes of traffic will be maintained in each direction. Ohio County: Hamilton Estimated Construction Cost: $90.8 million Start: March 2013 Estimated Completion: June 2016 Click here for more information
Interstate 71 Jeremiah Morrow Bridge Replacement
Description: Replacement of the two Jeremiah Morrow spans over the Little Miami River. The first portion opened to northbound I-71 traffic in November 2013. Work is proceeding on construction of a second. Ohio County: Warren Estimated Construction Cost: $88.1 million Star: August 2010 Estimated Completion: May 2016 Click here for more information Waldvogel Viaduct and Sixth Street Expressway Improvement Description: Removal of Waldvogel Memorial Viaduct, including four ramps to Elberon and Warsaw avenues. Replacement of structures for the four ramps to Elberon and Warsaw, as well as replacement of structures for the connection to the Sixth Street Expressway. It also includes removal and replacement of roadways for the required portions of River Road, Elberon Avenue, Warsaw Avenue, State Avenue and Maryland Avenue. One lane of U.S. 50 traffic is maintained in each direction. Ohio County: Hamilton Construction Cost: $54.9 million Start: July 2011 Estimated Completion: May 2015