A project in Swanton is one of the key pieces of the Ohio Turnpike’s 2021 construction season.
The Turnpike kicked off its season this month with a $205 million capital improvement program that includes projects throughout northern Ohio. The focus will be on improving safety and making progress on the modernized Toll Collection System that is scheduled to go live with Open Road Tolling in the spring of 2023.
“We’ll be making significant progress this year constructing much of the infrastructure necessary to modernize our toll collection system,” said Executive Director Ferzan M. Ahmed.
Identified infrastructure improvements include pavement replacement and resurfacing, bridge rehabilitation, and construction of a new toll plaza in Swanton. The toll plaza, at mile post 49 just east of the Fulton-Lucas county line, will be one of four new or reconstructed toll plazas that will serve as the linchpin of the new system.
“Customers have been asking for a modern toll road and we’re excited that our plan is now underway. In 2023, our new Open Road Tolling system will debut with all gates removed for our E-ZPass customers,” Ahmed said.
Full-depth excavation and pavement replacement will take place in the eastbound direction in 2021 from mile post 46.5-51.4. The pavement was replaced in this section on the westbound side last year. The installation of new entry and exit ramps also will take place in both directions.
This construction will support access to and from Toll Plaza 49. The plaza is the first of four new toll plazas that will be constructed in support of the modernized toll collection system that will go live in 2023.
The Swanton Toll Plaza will serve as a test site for the new system when the technical equipment contractor, Conduent, installs new toll collection equipment in July or August at the site and in the toll lanes.
The Kokosing Construction Company was awarded a $30.7 million contract to replace the pavement, install the ramps, and build the new toll plaza.
Also, this past fall the Ohio Turnpike started a major pavement replacement project from the Indiana state line to mile post 7.26 in Williams County. As this project moves forward it may cause periodic disruption to normal traffic operating conditions.
In 2021 and 2022, all work will take place east of the Westgate Toll Plaza. The turnpike will be reduced to one lane in each direction during the entire construction season both years.
In 2023, pavement will be replaced from the Indiana line through the new toll plaza at mile post 4. Once again, the turnpike will be reduced to one lane in each direction.
That new toll plaza will become the new Westgate Toll Plaza. The current Westgate Toll Plaza is currently scheduled for demolition in the summer of 2023.
Ohio Turnpike bridges also will see major work this year, with almost $22 million in various bridge repair, removal, repainting, and deck-widening and replacement projects.
With work zones in place and more in store for this season, it’s always good for motorists to be prepared.
“When driving through a construction zone, the most important thing to do is to pay attention to the road conditions and restrictions,” said Ahmed. “People are working next to traffic. Please drive through the work zones as though construction workers are members of your own family.”