(WKBN) – The Ohio Department of Transportation is investing $118 million to improve infrastructure in eastern Ohio.
It’s part of the $1.92 billion being invested into 956 transportation projects across the state this year.
Fourteen of those projects are in Columbiana County.
“Ohio’s ability to safely and easily move people and goods is vital as we continue to recover from the global pandemic,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “As ODOT begins the 2021 construction season, there are many infrastructure projects throughout the state that will improve safety for motorists. We also need motorists to pay attention and not drive distracted, and to slow down in construction zones.”
For a breakdown of the 2021 construction plan, click here.
Despite a 15.5% drop in traffic last year, ODOT officials say the motor fuel tax increase that went into effect in 2019 has helped keep them on schedule for maintenance and safety projects.
“Thanks to the foresight of Gov. DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly and internal operational savings identified by our workforce, we have been able to weather this global pandemic. Without those extra funds, we would be nearly a billion dollars in the red,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “While other states have been delaying or canceling projects, Ohio continues moving forward.”
This year’s plan includes 266 safety projects.
“Sadly, traffic deaths continued to climb last year, even with fewer vehicles on our roads,” Marchbanks said. “We must continue to prioritize projects that make our roads safer for everyone who uses them.”
With more construction on the roads, ODOT urges drivers to move over for any roadside vehicles with flashing lights.
“Drivers should always pay attention, but work zones require extra attention. Just like you, these workers want to go home at the end of the day,” Marchbanks said.
There were 4,536 work zone crashes in Ohio last year. Of those, 18 crashes were fatal and 96 resulted in serious injuries.
ODOT crews have been hit 52 times already this year.