Widening of Ohio Turnpike finally comes to a close

AP News
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Posted: Nov 16, 2014 11:20 AM

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Transportation workers have finally finished a plan to add a third lane to both directions along much of the Ohio Turnpike.

The Blade in Toledo reports (http://bit.ly/116E9vp ) that crews recently completed the last 4.6 miles of the project, nearly 20 years after it was announced.

All lanes in the widening campaign are scheduled to open by Monday.

The upgrade to 159 of the road's 241 miles was slated to be done in five years when it was announced at an Ohio Turnpike Commission meeting in April 1995. The project was expected to cost $460 million.

But the newspaper reports the commission walked back an unpopular toll hike that it had approved during that meeting after state lawmakers protested. And turnpike officials say the reduction in revenue was a main reason for slowed progress. Delays in the late 1990s were blamed on late deliveries of steel needed to replace or widen bridges. The economic recession in the region also was a factor.

Adam Greenslade, the turnpike's government affairs director, said no ceremony is planned to celebrate the project's completion. And with light traffic west of Toledo and east of Youngstown, the commission has no plans to widen any more of the roadway.

Robin Carlin, the turnpike's interim executive director, said he believed customers would see the turnpike as a better way to travel.

"Completion of the third-lane project exemplifies our mission because it increases safety and mobility," Carlin told the newspaper.

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Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/