CINCINNATI — If you’ve driven anywhere in Ohio these days, you’ve seen the signs of road work in progress. Seemingly, the work on many of these projects is slow.
Though perhaps the state’s most infamous infrastructure concern—the Brent Spence Bridge linking Kentucky with Ohio in Cincinnati is actually under Kentucky’s control—the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is responsible for the projects on state and federal highways within state borders minus the turnpike.
And this year alone, that tallies to 956 work projects and almost two billion dollars in expenditures.
With that kind of scale, I asked ODOT spokesperson Matt Bruning why things can’t speed up a bit.
“It’s a big complex thing to do a project. It’s not just something super simple. I know people want to boil it down to that, but’s not.”
Then, something I didn’t consider when putting this story together: outside construction is largely dependent on weather conditions.
“You can’t really pave in the winter time. There’s just certain requirements for temperature and weather conditions that you have to have for laying asphalt. So there’s a certain number of months that you can do that.”
Finally, much of the construction pace today is based on the reality that over 95 percent of ODOT’s projects are maintenance oriented—not new construction as in the Depression era. And any time you’re working to improve existing structures surrounded by businesses, hospitals, homes, and schools, progress will be slower, no matter how much we’d like to see things to speed up.
“It’s not just ‘let’s go grab, you know, 150 people and start throwing shovels in the ground and get this done.”
ODOT accepts comments and feedback about its construction projects. To talk with the department about a project in your area, visit the help center page at www.transportation.ohio.gov.