GALLIA COUNTY, OHIO (WOWK) — Monday, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for the southeastern districts laid out some plans to repair, preserve and maintain the roads and bridges for the region.
“Beautiful country, just bad roads,” says Indiana resident Eric Bliss.
After an icy winter, this is a common sentiment among drivers in southeastern Ohio.
ODOT laid out 956 new and ongoing safety, preservation and maintenance projects across the Buckeye State.
“This week we’re doing our official construction kickoff for the 2021 construction season. We’re getting ready to begin a nearly two billion dollar construction season across the state,” says Matthew McGuire, the public information officer for ODOT District 9—which includes Lawrence and Scioto counties, among others.
There is no need to worry about the large price tag however: drivers have already funded these particular endeavors.
“That money comes from the motor vehicle fuel tax. We had that increase in motor vehicle fuel tax back in 2019 and that increase has really allowed us to keep a lot of these projects on track,” says McGuire.
The projects include everything from asphalt resurfacing and bridge repair to fixing potholes and culverts—all in an effort to keep the infrastructure up to par for years to come.
“We’re seeing serious issues that can’t be fixed; so the bottom line is it needs to be pulled out of there, it needs to be replaced. Work that we’re doing now on State Route 7 in the Crown City area will prepare that section for another 30 plus years of service,” says Ashley Rittenhouse, the public information officer for ODOT District 10—which includes Gallia and Meigs Counties, to name a few.
Drivers passing through Gallia County Monday agree: the roads could use a little bit of help.
“We’re on our way back to West Virginia going to Indiana and I’ve never seen roads that have to have signs that say ‘dip.’ You know? I’m surprised I didn’t lose something,” says Bliss.
“The further out from town, the roads start to get worse – some roads will need some extra help I think,” says Chad Polsley, a resident of Gallipolis.
ODOT officials want to reassure drivers seeing these large projects under construction: the smaller repairs will not be forgotten.
“Maintenance crews will still be very focused on fixing potholes, but these large capital projects are usually covering bigger issues,” say McGuire.
“Literally, the economy of our state rides on these roads. And so keeping them in good condition helps make sure people are able to get to and from work, they’re able to go places with their families, so keeping these roads in good repair is absolutely critical.”Matthew McGuire, public information officer, ODOT District 9
ODOT also warns these projects will cause more crews to be out on the roads; therefore, drivers should be extra cautious in work zones and expect delays in the months to come.
For more information about ongoing and upcoming projects will be taking place, visit ODOT’s website here.