Construction on what will be the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway is continuing into the winter months. Officials close to the project estimated that 10 million cubic yards of dirt have been moved to make way for the highway.
Kathleen Fuller, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department Of Transportation, said crews are anticipated to continue work on the project through the winter months with little disruption.
“Crews will be working through the winter and will be working as much as they can. There could be some double shifts, there’s no plan to put the project on hiatus during the winter months. Basically, as much work that can be accomplished during the winter months will be accomplished,” Fuller said.
She said some work will depend on the weather because a lot of work is being done on the interior of the project.
When asked if there was a point when it’s too cold for crews to work Fuller said, “no. It really depends on what they (crews) are doing, you can move dirt when it’s cold. There’s concrete work and asphalt work you don’t do when it’s cold, but with this project, there is so much to be done and so much that can be done while it’s cold.”
Once constructed, the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway will be a 17.3 mile, 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. There will need to be 25 million cubic yards of excavation to make way for the new highway.
There will be 22 bridges constructed as a part of the project. Some excavation points along the highway will be as deep as 190 feet and will have embankments as tall as 150 feet.
Associated with a project of this magnitude, there are a number of roadways closed or traffic is restricted.
A partial list of affected roadways, according to the Ohio Department Of Transportation include, U.S. 52, which is reduced to one, 11-foot lane in each direction between State Route 140 and County Road 550.
Ohio River Road is closed between Hastings Hill Road and State Route 140 for water main installation. Traffic is being detoured via S.R. 140, U.S. 52 and Center Street at the Wheelersburg exit.
U.S. 23 is reduced to one, 12-foot lane in both directions between State Route 728 and County Road 55 (Fairground Road) for bridge construction and to accommodate trucks crossing the highway. A reduced speed limit is also in effect.
North Pershing Avenue in the city of Portsmouth has been closed for reconstruction and relocation. Traffic is being detoured via Marne Avenue.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneAllenPDT on Twitter