BEREA, Ohio — A big year is in store for the Ohio Turnpike. Yes, that will mean orange barrels and construction projects, but also modernized toll collection services and safer roadways.
On Tuesday, the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission announced that it has approved a $233 milion budget for improvement projects in 2022. The money will be spent on toll road modernization, mainline pavement replacement, resurfacing, bridge, and other projects for this year.
With the news about the upcoming projects comes a reminder from turnpike officials to slow down in work areas. There were 1,443 vehicle crashes in work zones on the Ohio Turnpike from 2016-2020, averaging 289 crashes per year over the same five-year period, according to statistics provided by the Ohio Department of Public Safety
“Speeding in work zones is a primary cause of crashes,” said Ferzan Ahmed, executive director of the turnpike commission in a statement. “The Highway Patrol will be conducting speed enforcement, including aerial enforcement, in work zones on the Ohio Turnpike during the construction season.”
Here is how the $233 million in investment money is being distributed:
Toll Collection System Modernization Projects ($76.2 million):
- Construction of the new mainline Westgate Toll Plaza 4 in Edon, Ohio (Williams County);
- Construction of the new mainline Toll Plaza 211 in Newton Falls, Ohio (Trumbull County);
- Renovation of the mainline Eastgate Toll Plaza 239 in New Springfield, Ohio (Mahoning County);
- Expansion of Toll Plaza 64 (Wood County) and Toll Plaza 152 (Lorain County);
- Infrastructure upgrades to install new tolling equipment at 20 interchanges from Toll Plaza 52 to Toll Plaza 209 (Lucas, Wood, Sandusky, Erie, Lorain, Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage and Trumbull counties);
- Automatic traffic recorders at nine toll plazas (Williams, Fulton, Trumbull and Mahoning counties);
- Weigh-in motion systems at three milepost locations (Ottawa, Lorain and Portage counties);
- New toll collection hardware/equipment installation at 21 existing toll plazas and three new toll plazas.
“We are about one year away from open road tolling on the Ohio Turnpike, which is scheduled to debut in spring 2023. Once complete, our E-ZPass customers will be able to travel the full length of the 241-mile Ohio Turnpike at highway speeds without stopping,” Ahmed adds. “Customers, who save an average of 33% on tolls with EZPass, will continue to receive discounted toll rates when traveling through gateless E-ZPass entry and exit lanes. Motorists without E-ZPass will still have the option to exit the turnpike and pay their tolls with cash or credit card at gated toll lanes.”
Three mainline pavement replacement projects ($65.7 million):
- Pavement replacement, new ramps, and construction of the new Westgate Toll Plaza 4 site (Williams County)
- Pavement replacement, new ramps, and construction of the new Toll Plaza 211 site (Trumbull County)
- Pavement replacement, new ramps, and renovation of the current Toll Plaza 239 site (Mahoning County)
Four resurfacing projects, which will remove and replace asphalt, upgrade guardrails and other roadway work ($36.2 million):
- All three lanes and all shoulders in both westbound and eastbound directions from milepost 73.95 to 80.5 (Wood, Ottawa and Sandusky counties).
- The right and center lanes and right shoulder from milepost 178.05 to 185.65 (Summit County) and resurfacing the ramps at Exit 187 (Portage County). NOTE: There will be long-term lane closures on the mainline down to two lanes in each direction during the day with single lane zones (one lane of traffic) restricted to nighttime.
- The ramps at Exit 118 (Erie County).
- The car and truck parking areas at the Great Lakes and Towpath service plazas at milepost 170.1 (Cuyahoga County).
Five bridge projects, which includes widening and deck replacement, removal and repainting of 11 bridges ($31.6 million):
- Widening and deck replacement of the mainline bridges at milepost 40.3 over State Route 109 and milepost 40.5 over the Indiana and Ohio Railway in Pike Township (Fulton County).
- Removal of the mainline bridge at milepost 98.9 over abandoned railroad and redecking the mainline bridge at milepost 99.1 over State Route 510 in Riley Township (Sandusky County).
- Replacement of the Exit 151 eastbound deceleration ramp bridge at milepost 151.3 and redecking the ramp bridge over Lorain Road at milepost 152.3 in North Ridgeville (Lorain County); and redecking the Jennings Road overhead bridge at milepost 153.9 in Olmsted Township (Cuyahoga County).
- Redecking the East Edgerton Road overhead bridge at milepost 169.6 in Broadview Heights (Cuyahoga County) and replacement of the State Route 21/Brecksville Road bridge at milepost 172.9 in Richfield (Summit County). NOTE: Traffic will be detoured on East Edgerton Road. Traffic will be maintained on State Route 21 and there will be temporary lane closures on the mainline.
- Final paving and the repainting of the mainline bridges at milepost 222.7 over Turner Road and milepost 222.8 over Kirk Road in Austintown Township (Mahoning County).
Officials say in order to limit delays for motorists, the Ohio Turnpike Commission strives to maintain two lanes of traffic in all three lane sections of the turnpike during peak travel times. Some single lane zones will be necessary but will occur mostly during off-peak travel times or at night.
Most projects are expected to be completed by December 2022.