The start of spring also means the start of road construction season, and this year, the Ohio Department of Transportation is working on nearly 1,000 projects statewide.
More than 20 of those projects are happening in Dayton, according to officials, which is more than during a typical year.
Some road construction projects are already underway, including upgrades to the Main Street bridge over the Miami River.
“This bridge got old,” said Randy Chevalley, deputy director for ODOT’s District 7. “And so we want to make sure it’s not closed because of the condition of it.”
The Main Street bridge is one of more than 1,000 bridges under construction this year statewide, Chevalley said. ODOT’s 960 construction projects this year span more than 5,600 miles of roadway, he added.
It’s “kind of a transition from keeping the roads safe in the wintertime to getting the construction going in the spring,” Chevalley explained.
ODOT is investing more than $2.3 billion dollars into projects across the state this year, Chevalley said.
With workers in the roadway, officials are reminding drivers to be careful. Just last year, drivers struck ODOT crews more than 150 times, he said.
“As you drive, when you see those signs that say ‘construction ahead’ or ‘workers ahead,’ just pay attention – that’s all we ask,” Chevalley said.
People we spoke with who commute downtown said they believe while the traffic from the bridge project can sometimes cause headaches, the end result will be worth the hassle.
“I know that it’s going to be so difficult for the traffic, but after that we’re going to have nice roads here in the city,” said Miguel Guerra, who visits downtown Dayton regularly.
One of ODOT’s biggest projects this year is widening Interstate 70 in Clark County. The highway will go from four to six lanes to address bottlenecking issues between U.S. 68 and State Route 72, Chevalley said. ODOT officials expect to award the bid for that contract in June, he added.