ODOT: State Route 18 relocation ahead of schedule

NORTH BALTIMORE, OH (Toledo News Now) - Construction recently began on the State Route 18 relocation project in North Baltimore, but ODOT says workers are already ahead of schedule.

The goal of the project is to boost the economy. Wood County officials say relocating State Route 18 will attract more companies to the area, which they hope will help out existing businesses. That is why ODOT says the timing of the project is so important.

At first glance, State Route 18 looks the same as it did a few months ago, but if drivers take a closer look, it becomes unrecognizable.

"In the design phase, we were able to speed that up significantly, and right now in construction, although it's primarily up to Mother Nature what happens, that's definitely an advantage," said ODOT District 2 Spokesperson Theresa Pollick.

Mary Burks, manager of the Marathon Gas station by the old State Route 18, agrees with ODOT.

"We're having a lot of cars in the way of the semis trying to turn, and semis not seeing the little flashing light up there tend to just go around the corner.  And it would be a lot better with them outside of town," Burks said.

Burks says finishing the project quickly means eliminating those problems, and making North Baltimore more attractive to manufacturing companies, saying "We feel the more businesses come, the more people move in to town, the better our business will be."

There is still a lot of work to be done. The next stage of the project involves building the entire foundation of the road, but Wood County says they are happy ODOT is moving so quickly.

"It helps to show businesses, especially businesses that are out of the region that may not be able to see that on a map yet, they can see the aerial photography and see that there's a nice new, truck-ready road there for them to use with their distribution centers," Wade Gottschalk of the Wood County Economic Development Commission said.

The project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

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