TOLEDO, Ohio — If you've been out on the roads during this crisis, you may have noticed Ohio Department of Transportation crews still hard at work. Major projects and basic maintenance have continued with little interruption from the coronavirus.

ODOT officials from across northwest Ohio said operations have changed slightly but it's still business as usual.

Workers have continued to go out, keeping roads clean and safe for everyone, including essential workers. 

District 2 public information officer Rebecca Dangelo said many of their jobs like mowing and excavating lend themselves to social distancing.

"Changes with having different shifts come in so that we're reducing the number of employees at the garage at one time," she said. "We've moved the break rooms into the garages that are larger so everyone can maintain that distance."

As expected, the stay-at-home order has led to fewer people on the road. Officials said they've been able to do things they can't normally do during the day.

"Pavement markings and lay down asphalt and even concrete, that type of stuff," DeAngelo said. "It's been nice that there has been that reduced traffic and we've been able to do that during the day and we haven't had to wait for it to be warmer at night."

Contractors with major projects like the new Henry County bridge in development or the Purple Heart Bridge on Clinton Street in Defiance have continued on or even ahead of schedule.

"Lane closures, we talked to the city official and you could see that traffic at times was pretty slow," project engineer Bashar Kanouh said. "So, that helped us actually move things forward."

The Defiance Bridge reopened last December after 10 months of work and was due to be completed in July. But with less traffic during the last two months, the project will be done earlier. 

"All the concrete work is done for the sidewalk," Kanouh added. "And we should be finishing up pretty soon. Hopefully if the weather cooperates, most likely by the end of May."

As the state begins to reopen, ODOT workers will continue to follow updated health guidelines.

"Our crews are going to be masked, maintaining those social distancing guidelines," DeAngelo said. "You know, following everything we need to to maintain that safety."

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