ODOT gives progress updates for I-71 project
By Alberta Stojkovic -
Beginning in March, work will begin to widen I-71 from north of US Rt. 36/37 in Delaware County to just north of SR 61 in Morrow County. This Ohio Dept. of Transportation project will also reconstruct the bridge over Crall Rd. (Twp. Rd. 216) in Morrow County and will include the resurfacing of the exit ramps at SR 61 and I-71. This 9 mile project is the second of three construction projects to add a third lane to I-71.
March 18 there will be a closing of SR 314 for 120 days. This will be part of the first project from St. Rt. 95 to Richland County. Morrow County ODOT manager, Bill Young predicted that SR 314 should be opened by July 4. The construction group is given 120 days, but he believes they will be finished before then.
ODOT Communications manager, Nancy Burton said that she and Young have met with Amish Bishops in the area that is affected by the closing. They have advised the Amish of the road work on SR 314 and the work schedule.
The information and updates were given at a meeting last Wednesday with Engineers and staff from ODOT, contractors, and Morrow and Delaware County officials at ODOT’s Delaware County office.
Project engineer Dave Johanson said that during construction drivers can expect:
• Speed limits will be reduced to 55 mph.
• Drivers will see a lot of barrier walls and reflectors.
• Construction entrances are planned for construction vehicles and emergency vehicles.
• Weekend closure of the I-71/SR 61 ramps, but prior notification will be given.
Morrow County Commissioner Tom Harden asked about plans on closing lanes because of concern for trucks and the heavy traffic flow through Morrow County.
Johanson said that the contractor, Kenmore Construction, has completed drainage work along I-71 during the winter months. That is the necessary preliminary work before the heavy construction work begins. Two lanes will be maintained in each direction on I-71. He said the I-71 Southbound traffic will be shifted over between US 36/37 and SR 61 to give the contractor space to work. Traffic will be moved onto the berms.
Halfway through the summer the lanes will change over again and I-71 north traffic will be shifted over north of SR 61 for one half mile to construct the bridge over Crall Road. Crall Road (Twp. Rd. 216) will be closed until bridge work is completed. Burton assured the Morrow County officials that ODOT is aware of the tournament schedules for Cardinal Center and the big race weekends for Mid-Ohio. They will respect their event schedules and try to work around those dates.
Pat Davies asked about the painting of overhead bridges in Morrow County. Johanson said it will be beige. He said bridges have been raised over I-71 to the new standard of 16 ½ feet. Two bridges will be raised on CR 15 and TR 216 and they are getting rid of the bridge for the railroad. Two bridges were also replaced in Project 1 at the north end of Morrow County. Bridges to be completed are over Co. Rd. 23, SR 229 and CR 15.
Johanson pointed out that this is a design-build construction instead of the usual bid-build. This means that the contractor works on the design as well as the construction. This allows the contractor to design the work in the style that best fits their methods and should save time, money and be more efficient. Kokosing was the contractor for Project 1, Kenmore is contracting Project 2 and Project 3 is yet to be officially awarded.
Quick Facts: ODOT l-71 Project 2: Impact to Traffic Starts: March 2013. Where: US 36/37 to SR 61. What: Add third lane in each direction, replace bridges over Crall Road TR 216, and resurface I-71/SR 61 ramps. Contractor: Kenmore Construction and URS. Project complete: October 2014 Cost: $50 million Questions: Contact ODOT by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 740–833-8268. The Morrow County Sentinel also will post updates on the website at www.morrowcountysentinel.com.