Safety of motorists will always be the focus
A message from the deputy directors . . .
Every ODOT facility displays a sign that reads, "We care about safety." In every effort we undertake, safety is at the center.
In this issue of The Crossroad, we focus on the resources we offer to help local governments improve safety in your community. The "it takes all of us" phrase is absolutely true when it comes to safety. Safe roadways, safe drivers, and the willingness and ability of local officials to address safety concerns all must converge. Without one of these elements, achieving a safe transportation system falls short.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is a strong supporter of traffic safety programs. Part of the increase in the gas user fee, successfully secured by Governor DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly in 2019, funds a $159 million annual program that includes improving the safety of 150 rural, urban, and suburban intersections across the state. You'll hear more about how that program is positively impacting northwest Ohio in future editions of The Crossroad.
The uncertainty of pursing a safety project and the funds to construct it may be daunting for local governments. But you don't have to do it alone. You have a safety advocate in the Ohio Department of Transportation. We have the expertise and the staff to help with funding safety studies and projects. All available by just asking. So -- just ask.
Chris Hughes, ODOT District 1 Pat McColley, ODOT District 2
What's in this issue:
-New safety programs and application deadline changes.
-A look back on the success and future improvement of U.S. 30.
-County engineers take advantage of bridge beam upcycling.
-I-75 through Toledo area progresses on schedule.
-Traffic crash fatalities continue to rise.
New programs offer local governments options to pursue safety funds
The systemic safety funding application process provides local governments a funding option for improvements, such as this pedestrian hybrid beacon on Wooster Street in Bowling Green.
There are two new options for local governments to pursue safety funds through ODOT.
The systemic safety funding application process will begin in January 2022. The other, local safety study assistance, is only a year old. Details regarding both are below. In all cases, contact the safety coordinator in your respective ODOT District for more information and to apply to the programs:
Systemic safety funding application process
Beginning in January 2022, ODOT will offer a new program to focus on preventing injuries, specifically related to pedestrian and roadway departure crashes. Funds may be used on a state highway or any public roadway.
The intent of the program is to be proactive and widely implemented, based on roadway features that have been associated with specific crash types.
A total of $30 million is available for pedestrian and roadway departure safety improvements.
Applications are due Jan. 31, 2022. Award notifications are expected in March 2022. For more information: HSIP Systemic Safety Funding Application Process | Ohio Department of Transportation;
Local Safety Study Assistance
This relatively new program was created to help local governments that do not have the expertise to pursue and fund a safety improvement project. The only investment needed on behalf of the local entity is their time. “We pay the consultant to do an abbreviated study and then do the work to funnel it to the right safety program,” said Christopher Waterfield, ODOT District 2 traffic safety engineer. The program makes available $2 million annually to assist in documenting and developing a safety project. Funding award is determined by the following:
- Number and severity of crashes with a crash pattern consistent with a State Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) area of emphasis.
- The location is listed on a local, county, regional transportation planning organization (RTPO), a metropolitan planning organization (MPO), or state priority safety list.
- Demonstrated financial need.
- No history of receiving ODOT safety funds in the past.
- The support of the ODOT district where the project is located.
- The project is a good candidate to receive funding.
Deadlines have changed for safety project applications
ODOT offers three types of safety applications. The following is a summary of the types of funding available and their new application timelines:
Abbreviated – for projects that are relatively simple where no right-of-way is needed. Examples are signage upgrades or additions, edge line or centerline rumble stripes, and pedestrian crossing equipment. Applications are now due quarterly:
Dec. 31, 2021
March 31, 2022
June 30, 2022
Sept. 30, 2022
Formal – for more complex projects, such as a roundabout, where right-of-way and detailed construction plans are needed. Applications for this program are now due annually on Aug. 31, 2022.
Systemic – for locations where pedestrian and roadway departures are occurring. This new program is on an annual cycle, due Jan. 31, 2022.
Contact the safety coordinator in ODOT District 1 and District 2 for more information:
Kylie Schnipke, District 1 (Lima) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Waterfield, District 2 (Bowling Green) email@example.com
U.S. 30 expansion in northwest Ohio -- a transportation success story
The expansion and relocation of U.S. 30 through Hancock and Wyandot counties as it's under way in 2005. The last section of the new, four-lane route in northwest Ohio was opened to traffic in 2007.
U.S. 30 through northwest Ohio is today a pleasant, picturesque drive. The last of the projects to expand the route to its current four-lane footprint opened to traffic in 2007.
The same drive on the former two-lane U.S. 30 was anything but pleasant. It was a harrowing ride with a reputation for being a road to avoid. For that reason, the expansion and relocation of U.S. 30 through Allen, Hancock, Wyandot, and Crawford counties was a primary focus for ODOT for decades until the funding was finally in place to begin construction.
Now, as changes in traffic have occurred, the next phase of improving the safety of U.S. 30 is beginning. See how ODOT plans to continue to enhance the safety and success of this monumental transportation improvement in northwest Ohio: Look Back: U.S. 30 | Ohio Department of Transportation
Bridge upcycling program benefits local governments
This bridge in Defiance County was constructed using recycled beams. ODOT has formalized a process, referred to as bridge upcycling, to help local governments access used bridge beams for repurposing in their projects.
It’s the ultimate in recycling – taking used bridge beams from a state highway project and repurposing them on local roads.
Warren Schlatter, Defiance County engineer, employed this concept prior to ODOT’s bridge upcycling program existing. Schlatter has rehabbed three bridges using upcycled bridge beams and has plans to revamp more.
Now that ODOT has a formalized program, Schlatter has enrolled and is an advocate for its use. “From the taxpayer’s perspective, we should absolutely be looking at this,” he said.
Likewise for Mark Eicher, Muskingum County engineer. The county has been upcycling bridge beams for several years and estimates a minimum of $50,000 is saved in each instance. With modifications, the beams are effectively used at a benefit to the county.
Hear more in this video regarding Warren and Mark’s upcycling experiences, or reach out to them directly: Warren Schlatter: (419) 782-4751; firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Eicher: (740) 454-0155; email@example.com
Toledo I-75 projects progress on schedule
Interstate 75 over the Anthony Wayne Trail, Toledo, in October of this year. The project is on schedule for completion in 2023.
The reconstruction of Interstate 75 continues to be the center of attention for motorists in northwest Ohio. While the $115 million project on I-75 through Findlay and Hancock County is now complete, the revamp In Wood and Lucas counties continues on schedule.
Two abutting projects between Buck Road and Dorr Street saw good progress in 2021. The $343 million project began in late 2018. The northern section through the downtown area is on target to complete late next year, while the southern section will be completed in 2023.
“We are where we expected to be at this point and continue to effectively manage the challenges a project of this size presents,” said Pat McColley, ODOT District 2 deputy director.
Among the notable accomplishments on the project during 2021:
- Reconstruction of the northbound and southbound pavement between Buck Road and Wales Road, and all ramps at Wales Road.
- Construction of the southbound pavement between Wales Road and South Avenue.
- Reconstruction of both southbound I-75/Miami Street ramps.
- Reconstruction of all I-75/South Avenue ramps.
- Construction of the new southbound I-75 DiSalle Bridge over the Maumee River.
- Construction of noisewall along southbound I-75 in multiple locations between Buck Road and Miami Street.
- First phase of construction of a bridge carrying I-75 over Erie Street, Collingwood Boulevard, Swan Creek, and Anthony Wayne Trail (State Route 25).
Reasons for increase in traffic deaths are many -- the cure is uncertain
As of Dec. 14, 2021, traffic deaths in Ohio are up 9.5% -- 1,293 compared to 1,180 this same time last year. The state has already surpassed last year's total deaths of 1,230. This marks seven out of eight years that traffic deaths have risen.
Ohio is on trend with most states, with traffic deaths on the rise and no clear answers as to why.
Every year, the most common traffic deaths involve:
- Roadway departure.
- Unbelted drivers and passengers.
- Alcohol and drugs.
- Young drivers (15-25).
Through November, analysis shows notable trends:
- Fatalities involving non seatbelt use is up 10%.
- Fatalities involving commercial vehicles is up 39%.
- Fatalities involving intersections is up 19%.
- Fatalities involving pedestrians have finally begun to trend down slightly to 5% less over this time last year, but bicycle fatalities are up 31% with 21 this year compared to 15 last year.
For more information regarding traffic crash trends and safety, visit the ODOT website: Crash Trends & Resources | Ohio Department of Transportation
Stay Fit to Drive resource now available
The Crossroad is a production of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s public information staff in the northwest region, encompassing ODOT District 1 and District 2. To receive this and other ODOT communications directly to your email, sign up here. We would sincerely like to know what you’d like to know, so please contact us with questions or feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org