Spring has arrived, though it may not feel like it, and constructions crews are rolling out all around Ohio to begin nearly 1,000 road improvement projects. The Ohio Department of Transportation is touting this as a big year to improve connectivity.
Columbus City Schools, along with many schools throughout the state, are closing early because of ice and snow expected later this afternoon. Ohio Department of Transportation crews are already preparing for the storm, which could blanket Ohio in up to five inches of snow by Saturday.
This is expected to be a record year for road construction, with the Ohio Department of Transportation planning to spend $2.4 billion maintaining and building roads and bridges. But the agency’s director is worried about funding for ODOT down the road.
On Tuesday morning, employees at El Acapulco pour salsa into jars, preparing to open at 11 a.m. Owner José Banderas says all the construction has caused business at this Mexican restaurant, just off of US-23, to decline in recent years.
An hour northwest of Columbus, the 4500-acre Transportation Research Center in East Liberty is racing to develop the latest vehicle technologies. And Monday it welcomed an important visitor to show off its advancements: U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
Ohio has its foot on the gas accelerating an effort to grow its self-driving vehicle industry. After success last fall, The Ohio Turnpike and OTTO Motors are planning more tests this spring and summer for self-driving tractor trailers across Ohio's northern corridor.
Ohio's Department of Transportation says it has tried, where possible, to reduce the size of work zones on roadways for what is expected to be a busy long weekend of travel around the Christmas holiday.
Traffic deaths across the U.S. are on the increase. The National Safety Council says deaths in 2015 were up eight percent over the previous year. But the death rate in Ohio for the same period was several points higher. Pinpointing the reasons why can be difficult.