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I-70/Ohio 79 interchange to be improved

JACKSONTOWN – By this time next year, the Ohio Department of Transportation promises improvements to the hazardous I-70 and Ohio 79 interchange near Buckeye Lake Village.

“It’ll be a nice improvement,” said ODOT District 5 District Environmental Coordinator Amy Toohey. According to an ODOT press release, the project, which is considered a safety improvement, will include removal of the exit loop ramps. Those ramps slated for removal provide access from I-70 westbound to Ohio 79 southbound and access from I-70 eastbound to Ohio 79 northbound.

Traffic heading in those directions will be accommodated on the remaining exit ramps. The project will also include installation of a turn lane on the eastbound and westbound off ramps to facilitate north and south access to Ohio 79. Traffic signals will be installed at the end of the eastbound and westbound off ramps. The westbound and eastbound on ramps to I-70 will be extended to provide a longer acceleration lane.

According to the release, the project will be completed with minimal disruption to motorists utilizing the interchange. A brief closure of the westbound on ramp may occur, in order to lengthen the lane for a longer acceleration lane. It is anticipated that construction will begin next spring, with an estimated time period of six months for construction, weather dependent.

Toohey said the project is currently estimated to cost $1.6 million. “It’ll change once they get more design work done,” she said. Toohey said the interchange area needs plenty of work, but for now ODOT is funding the safety improvements.

In Perry County, ODOT is proposing to replace a deficient bridge on Ohio 757 between the villages of Somerset and Glenford. The bridge crosses an unnamed tributary to Jonathan Creek. The project will result in a short-term road closure and a detour will be posted. The project is scheduled for construction this summer. Toohey said bridge replacement is estimated to cost $230,000.

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