Thursday, March 26, 2009

State Stimulus Transportation Projects Announced: Two Projects Absorb Nearly Half of Funds

Gov. Strickland announced today the transportation projects that will receive funds from the stimulus bill. The $775 million allocated for highway projects was spread out to projects in all 12 ODOT districts and 87 of Ohio's 88 counties (Noble County did not submit an eligible project). However, I couldn't help but notice that $370 million of the total will be heading to fund just two projects: $150 million will fund construction of the US 33 Nelsonville Bypass in Hocking and Athens counties in Southeast Ohio, while some $220 million will be funding the desperately needed reconstruction of the I-90 Innerbelt bridge in downtown Cleveland. 

For those who are unaware, the Innerbelt bridge carries I-90 across the Cuyahoga River and into downtown Cleveland. The current bridge is of the same design as the I-35W bridge which collapsed in Minneapolis during the summer of 2007. ODOT structural engineers have said that key cross members of the bridge are at 62% of full strength, and as a result one lane in each direction of the bridge has been closed and trucks have been detoured around it. 

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