For the next few weeks, navigating the highways of Belmont County is going to be a challenge.
Construction projects are ramping up, and many are creating road closures that could take drivers by surprise. All this week there will be lane closures on Interstate 70 in both directions for the Mall Commons Interchange.
Each night from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., it will be down to one lane in each direction. Except for this Thursday night, when they will place the beams across the highway, "There'll be planned controlled stops on I-70 in 15-minute intervals to set the beams over the lanes and that will also be from 9 pm to 6 a.m.," said Ohio Department of Transportation Field Engineer, Brett Porter.
Knowing that complete stops on a highway can cause crashes, the Ohio State Highway Patrol has a plan, "We'll have nine troopers down there working to do what we call rolling roadblocks to basically hold traffic back while those beams are being placed on the overpass. This allows traffic to continue moving but at a greatly reduced speed," said Ohio State Highway Patrol Lieutenant, James Fonda.
To the west, the long torn-up area of State Route 331 and US Route 40 is still torn up. Between Ohio University Eastern and the Routes 40 and 331 intersection it's down to one direction, eastbound only, and will remain that way until November 22nd, but soon that will become more limited, And then on August 14th we will close the eastbound off ramp. There's a planned closure of 14 days to rebuild the roadway on that ramp," Said Brett Porter. Detours will be posted. They say it will only add five or ten minutes to your trip.
Finally, there's the Bridgeport railroad track replacement. Starting Monday, August 14th, U.S. 40 will be closed at the railroad crossing near the Bridgeport Bridge. Technically it's called the Lincoln Avenue, U.S. 40 and Route 250 intersection. That should last one week and there will be reduced speed limits at all these locations, "You need to slow down even more than that because you have, the lanes are a lot narrower and you have traffic that slows down. So you need to increase your following distance and reduce your speed," said Lt. Fonda. He also reminds drivers that fines are doubled for speeding in construction zones.