Portsmouth Bypass Clears Final Hurdle

By Frank Lewis

September 26, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

The Portsmouth Bypass project is a done deal.

After consideration by the state’s Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC), and a preliminary vote on the original draft list, the Council voted Thursday to fund the $440.5 million project which will link U.S. 23 with U.S. 52, completely bypassing the city of Portsmouth.

Final approval was given Thursday to Gov. John R. Kasich’s Jobs and Transportation Plan, setting in motion a plan to create what he says will be 60,000 new jobs and help grow Ohio’s economy with a $3 billion investment in infrastructure over six years. The state’s Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) Thursday completed the last step of the process by voting unanimously to put the governor’s plan into action.

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, the project will be a joint public/private effort in which private companies will form consortiums and make application to receive the contract and begin construction in early 2015 or possibly late 2014.

“We have been working hard to move through the process quickly and get projects started. Thanks to the Governor’s plan we will be able to get more projects moving faster, without a tax increase,” Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray said.

The vote is the final step in the independent council’s approval process for Kasich’s Jobs and Transportation Plan. Many of the projects were previously delayed by 10 years or more and now, some may start as soon as this fall. The project is expected to take five years to complete.

The nine-member TRAC was established by the Ohio Revised Code in 1997 and provides guidance for developing a project selection process for ODOT’s largest investments of more than $12 million.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.