I-71 Widening Project
Updated: Wednesday, February 20 2013, 07:34 PM EST
DELAWARE -- Lots of drivers ask--wouldn't it be great if Interstate 71 was three lanes all the way from Columbus to Cleveland and back? The Ohio Department of Transportation is working on that and expects to make that happen by 2015.
ODOT announced Wednesday that starting the first week in March they will begin Phase 2 and 3 of a widening project. North of Columbus, frequent bottlenecks caused headaches where the 3 lanes were reduced to 2.
Project 2 will cover nine miles from SR 61 to SR 95. Project 3 SR 61 to SR 95 is 8.9 miles. The total 26 mile widening project has a $144 million price tag.
Two lanes will be maintained during construction in each direction on I 71 during construction. Speed limit will be reduced to 55 miles per hour in the construction area.
Truckers tell ABC 6 they think the widening will make the Interstate safer and give them more room to maneuver. Drivers like Brian Newbacher, who makes frequent trips between Columbus and Cleveland said the projects will relieve congestion. "It can be frustrating to get stuck in choke points, especially during the holidays or if there's a Buckeye game.". Newbacher said he is willing to deal with the pain of construction to gain more time at his destination in the future.
Reporter: LuAnn Stoia
Web Producer: Kellie Hanna