FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) - With warmer weather comes the inevitable return of orange barrels along our highways. The Ohio Department of Transportation is laying out where drivers can expect to see big projects this year.
In a joint press conference in Findlay, ODOT's Toledo and Northwest Ohio department kicked off their construction season.
In District 1, the biggest project is the continuation of the I-75 widening project through Hancock County. By the end of the year, all work on the north side of Findlay will be complete.
"So, that's really going to shrink the work zone down tremendously, and I think we'll get a lot of relief for our drivers at the end of this year," said ODOT District 1 Deputy Director Kirk Slusher.
In District 2, ODOT will be working on the route 64 bridge at Waterville, which is a $13 million project.
But in August, they begin work on the stretch of I-75 in Toledo from South Avenue to Dorr Street. This included a redesign and reconstruction of the interchange with the Anthony Wayne Trail, a four-year $155 million project.
"We still have a lot of projects to go, we have another I-75 project next year. But once those two 75 projects are done, and the current one is completed, we are going to be sitting pretty good on the I-75 corridor," said Pat McColley, Deputy Director of ODOT District 2.
In total, the state of Ohio will be spending $2.35 billion on construction projects.
According to ODOT director Jerry Wray, the majority of the money will go toward safety and maintenance.
"People are interested in the new stuff, and the new bypasses and connectors, and we want to do that also, but the number one thing for us is safety and number 2 is taking care of what we have," said Wray.
ODOT officials also wanted to remind drivers of the three biggest dangers of driving through a construction zone: Driving while distracted, driving to close to the car in front of you, and not following the posted speed limit.