ODOT will begin construction on two overpasses on County Roads 180 and 169, each costing about $5 million and expected to be completed by the end of the year.

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ohio — With spring comes flowers, wildlife and backyard barbecues in Ohio. And in northwest Ohio in particular, spring brings orange construction barrels.

And for ODOT District 1A major construction project in Hancock County is expected to increase safety.

For years, the only way to cross a section of State Route 15 in Hancock County is to wait for enough space between highway traffic.

But as the U.S. 23 corridor expands, the number of serious, fatal crashes is increasing on the stretch of State Route 15, so ODOT is working to close low-level intersections to make the route safer.

“Part of our long-term plan is to upgrade highways like state Route 15 to a fully limited access, or as we would say, interstate, where the only way in and out will be a ramp,” said ODOT District 1 Deputy Director Chris Hughes.

While many of these intersections will be completely closed, ODOT will begin construction on two overpasses on County Roads 180 and 169.

Each project will cost about $5 million and will provide safe travel on the four-lane highway and improve safety for all drivers.

“We want to make sure that our community and those who travel through our community don’t have those interactions at those intersections where it’s really dangerous to cross,” said Hancock County Engineer Doug Cade.

Both of the state’s new Route 15 overpass projects will begin in earnest in April and are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

ODOT officially opened the 2023 construction season on Wednesday. According to local officials, this year will be a record investment in the infrastructure of Ohio with more than 1,000 road projects.

But more projects mean more construction crews on the road.

“So far in 2018, there have been more than 25,000 work zone crashes across the state,” said Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. said Ryan Purpura. “Again, it’s too much. It just comes down to the patience of the motoring public in the work zones. And often just because you were there yesterday doesn’t mean it’s going to be the same today. Sometimes they change daily, weekly with the project as it progresses development”.

ODOT officials reported that there were 133 incidents of equipment strikes in the construction zone last year.

So, as ODOT crews prepare to return to highways and interstates, anyone driving should also prepare to slow down and pay attention to the orange barrels, Purpura said.

“We just want people to know when they drive through these work zones that there are people working there,” Hughes said. “There are men and women trying to get a job done and they want to go home at the end of the day. Therefore, be careful and respect those people who work.”


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