By Wayne Allen
Officials from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) are expected to announce next week a date for the groundbreaking of the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway (Portsmouth Bypass).
The origins of this project can be traced to the 1960’s. Over the years the project has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs, as well as multiple attempts at funding. In 2012 the state legislature passed a measure allowing for ODOT to enter into Public Private Partnerships (P3) which allows ODOT to partner with developers and get projects finished sooner.
“When this (P3) passed we conducted a study to see if this (Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway) project would be a good candidate. The study determined this was a great project, for that type of environment,” said Tom Barnitz, ODOT Project Manager.
He said the project was in a good position, because a lot of work had all ready been done.
The contractor selected by ODOT for the project was Portsmouth Gateway Group LLC. Once construction is complete the group will maintain the roadway for 35 years. The contractor has anticipated hiring 300 construction workers and 100 management personnel for the project.
Mobilization and construction is set to begin in June. The opening is tentatively slated for Dec. 18, 2018.
Barnitz said that once the roadway is constructed it will be a 17.3 miles, four-lane divided, limited access highway. In total the roadway will have 72 lane-miles. There will be five major interchanges with two partial interchanges. The roadway is anticipated to have an average daily traffic of up to 14,500 vehicles. ODOT has set the speed limit of the roadway at 70 miles per hour.
A report from the Associated Press shows that once all costs are factored into construction and long term maintenance of the highway, the roadway will cost the state $1.2 billion.
For more information about the Portsmouth Gateway Group visit, www.portsmouthjv.com.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT