It was one year ago today (June 24, 2015) when state and local officials gathered in Minford to ceremoniously break the ground and start construction on the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway. Since the ground breaking, crews have been busy bringing the highway to life.
Kathleen Fuller, Spokesperson for the Ohio Department Of Transportation District 9, said crews are making progress on the project.
When asked about work on the construction of the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway, Fuller said there is a lot of bridge construction going on.
She said crews are working on all segments of the projects on two shifts everyday.
“We’ve got close to 300 people working (on the project), right now. They’re working in everything from office staff to people working out in the field,” Fuller said.
Because of the shape and size of the project, it becomes necessary to close certain roads and areas while the crews work.
Over the length of the project, Stout Hollow Road is closed at its junction with Dutch Ridge Road for excavation and bridge construction. The closure will be in effect throughout the duration of the project.
South Pershing Avenue will be subject to temporary, intermittent restrictions for excavation and paving. Traffic will be maintained by flaggers when crews are at work.
North Pershing Avenue in the city of Portsmouth has been closed for reconstruction and move. Traffic is being detoured via Marne Avenue. Blake Hollow Road has been closed for clearing, excavation, culvert installation and embankment work. Shumway Hollow Road is closed for move and interchange construction.
On Monday, June 27, U.S. 23 North will be reduced to one, 12-foot lane in the northbound direction between S.R. 728 and Fairground Road. The restriction will continue through early August while crews from the Portsmouth Joint Venture set foundations for MSE wall and bridge construction at the site of the future interchange.
Although northbound U.S. 23 will be reduced to one lane, southbound U.S. 23 should not be affected by this restriction; however, motorists need to use additional caution in either direction, where crews and heavy equipment are moving in and out of the work zone.
In addition to the U.S. 23 and other local road restrictions along the corridor, S.R. 140 and S.R. 335 are restricted at various locations for bridge and Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) wall construction.
On S.R. 140, traffic is being maintained in one, 11-foot lane between Gallia Street and Shela Boulevard in Sciotodale, and S.R. 335 is reduced to one lane between Swauger Valley Road and Shepherd Avenue in Highland Bend and at Barklow Road, adjacent to the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport. These restrictions will be in place through the summer, and traffic will be controlled by temporary signals.
Blasting operations are under way, and although there will be no effect to traffic during operations, residents in the general project area may experience sound or ground vibrations from the blasting, which is expected to occur weekdays during the noon hour and again in late afternoon or early evening. Blasting will continue intermittently throughout the duration of the project.
Once constructed the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway will be a 17.3 mile, 4 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 be an estimated 25 million cubic yards of excavation, to make way for the roadway. The tallest bridge on the highway will be over 124 feet, with culverts along the roadway as long as 900 feet and as deep as 190 feet.
In total the project will cost $1.2 billion of which $429 million is allocated to construction.
For more information about the Portsmouth Gateway Group visit, www.portsmouthjv.com.
For more information about the programs and activities of ODOT District 9 visit www.dot.state.oh.us/districts/D09 or find them on Facebook.
There are many moving parts to the construction of the future corridor of S.R. 823. Showing only a small portion of machinery and manpower hard at work, this photo depicts placement of backfill over culverts, with a Hitachi 1200 excavating in the background.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter