ODOT

Route 6 project steering toward fewer fatal crashes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   U.S. 6 offers few challenges to drivers. It’s about has flat and straight as they come. But the route that stretches east-west just south of Bowling Green is the site of many fatal crashes. “It’s the number one deadly killer road in Wood County,” said Sandy Wiechman, coordinator of Wood County Safety Communities. In the past three years, there have been 18 fatalities on Route 6 in Wood, Henry and Sandusky counties. During that same period, there have been 252 injuries and 745 property damage incidents on the roadway. So the route is now the focus of “Safe 6 Initiative,” which will coordinate law enforcement agencies to target aggressive driving behaviors on Route 6. The top causes for crashes on the route have been identified as failure to yield, failure to keep assured clear distance, going left of center, unsafe speeds, and improper passing. Route 6 is the second largest federal highway in the U.S., second only to U.S. 20, Wiechman said during a gathering Tuesday of area law enforcement, Ohio Department of Transportation and AAA officials. On its route from California to Massachusetts, Route 6 travels across Ohio farmland in the west, up to Lake Erie, and then through wooded areas of Ohio’s east. “It cuts through the heartland of Ohio,” Wiechman said. The roadway is used by many area residents for their daily commutes. Traffic increases in the summer, as motorists use the route to get to Lake Erie or other vacation destinations. Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Angel Burgos, of the Bowling Green post, said Route 6 is known for being a dangerous road, high in fatalities. Burgos has had to make death notifications to families of the victims. “The driving behavior just needs to change,” he said. “Hopefully, we can make Route 6 a lot safer this summer.” The high number of crashes on the route is a “head-scratcher,” according to Staff Lt. Jerrod Savidge, of the Ohio…


ODOT to spend $5 million to widen Route 582

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For a state route, Ohio 582 north of Bowling Green is uncommonly narrow. So the Ohio Department of Transportation has plans to fix that problem. But like so many issues, correcting one problem creates another. ODOT plans to widen 3.5 miles of Route 582 from Mercer Road in Middleton Township to about 1,000 feet east of Ohio 199 in Webster Township. While that project will be an improvement for motorists, the widening plan is causing some concerns for those who live along the roadway. But ODOT spokesperson Rebecca Shirling said some of the concerns are unfounded. The “myth” that ODOT will need to take the church in Dunbridge for the widening is false, she said. However, ODOT will need to take down one block commercial building near the intersection of Dunbridge Road, plus one house and two sheds further east on Route 582. A meeting was held earlier this year to explain the project to landowners along the route. Many had questions about the effect of the widening on their properties. “Once we explained it, most of the people were OK,” Shirling said. Another meeting was held this past week by a law firm that specializes in eminent domain law. Megan O’Neill, from the Krause & Kinsman Eminent Domain Law Firm, said about five landowners along Route 582 attended the meeting. They had concerns about the loss of their front yards and farmland, plus worries about construction so close to their homes. Because of the ditch on the south side of Route 582, most of the widening will take place on the north side of the roadway. “There’s essentially no shoulder on Route 582,” Shirling said. The lanes are 11 feet wide now, compared to the 12-foot standard for state routes. “For being a state route, it is pretty narrow,” she said. “It feels tight when you’re driving it,” with the guardrail right on the edge of the lane of travel. ODOT’s…


ODOT remembers those killed in construction zones

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Drivers in this part of the state have become very accustomed to encountering orange cones the last few years. As the Ohio Department of Transportation worked to widen Interstate 75 from two to three lanes, it became commonplace for drivers to have to maneuver around construction zones. That may have helped lead to some of the 6,000 work zone crashes in Ohio last year, according to Rebecca Shirling, spokesperson for ODOT District 2 in Bowling Green. So as a reminder to drivers to slow down in work zones, ODOT placed a display at the northbound rest area on I-75, just south of Bowling Green. The display represents 26 workers who were killed last year statewide in road work zones. That includes ODOT workers, tow truck drivers, law enforcement and utility workers. “These are people who didn’t go home,” Shirling said. “It’s frustrating waiting in traffic sometimes, but we forget these people had families to go home to.” The display is intended to be a stark reminder of the consequences of not paying attention. “We’ve had so much construction that people are becoming numb to it,” Shirling said. “We had a lot more work zone crashes. We had a larger construction zone than previous years.” Though message boards are being used to stress the reduced speed limits, they don’t always result in drivers slowing down. “A large percentage were people following too closely or being distracted by the work going on,” Shirling said. ODOT is working more closely with law enforcement and emergency responders to get roads open as soon as possible after crashes, so backups are reduced. And speed limit signs are being posted in work zones that aren’t active, to let drivers know they don’t need to slow down needlessly. Extra safety precautions are also being used for night crews, including halo lights on their helmets, and reflective markers on their sleeves and pantlegs. Night crews benefit from lighter traffic, but…