roads

A sign telling drivers to stay home, on SR-315 in Columbus.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is preparing for traffic to increase once again now that Ohio's stay-at-home order is lifting.

Highways and roads in Ohio are getting a little more crowded. Traffic levels have increased as the state's stay-at-home orders have been lifted.

America is starting its engines again.

Freeways and city streets have been remarkably empty for weeks. The coronavirus pandemic caused an unprecedented drop in U.S. traffic — total miles driven dropped by more than 40% in the last two weeks of March, according to data collected by Arity.

In some states, mileage eventually dropped more than 60% below what would be expected without a pandemic.

But for several weeks now, the same data shows that miles driven are starting to climb again. Driving remains well below normal levels, but is rising consistently.

highway in Columbus
Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

Speeding on Ohio's roadways is up during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research from The Ohio State University. While many drivers stay home, researchers found on a section of I-270 on Columbus' west side speeding has averaged 7-28 miles per hour above the speed limit.

Xianming Shi first thought of using biotechnology to derive de-icer additives out of agricultural waste materials several years ago.
Washington State University

It's no secret that road salt is not very sustainable. States like Ohio are looking for greener alternatives, like "BEET HEET," a de-icer made with the vegetable.

A new report finds that compared to the rest of the country, Ohio’s highways are getting better.

The study comes from the Reason Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank focused on market oriented solutions. It measured traffic fatalities, congestion and construction costs. 

ODOT

Gov. Mike DeWine has declared a state of emergency in 63 Ohio counties due to heavy rains that damaged roadways in June.

Semi-trailers zoom by on I-71 near MAPFRE Stadium as Joel Hunt points to a patch of milkweed, adored by monarch butterflies. It's flanked by Oxeye Sunflowers and Ohio Spiderworts, which share the same purpose: bringing in pollinators.

Joshua Davis / Flickr

Now that spring is finally here, Ohio’s road crews will be fixing potholes and pavement damaged over the winter.

highway in Columbus
Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

Gov. Mike DeWine will ask to raise the state’s 28 cent-a-gallon gas tax, a recommendation that emerged from a committee he appointed. That increase would help patch a hole of more than a $1 billion in the Ohio Department of Transportation’s budget.

DeWine, however, won’t yet get specific on what he’ll ask for.

A conservative think tank is calling on lawmakers to make changes to counter an increase to the gas tax by making cuts elsewhere in Ohio's tax structure.

Road Work Ahead sign
Dennis Brekke / Flickr Creative Commons

Ohio’s top transportation official told state lawmakers that drivers could face serious dangers on roads and bridges. His testimony comes in advance of a report expected Friday that’s likely to recommend a gas tax increase.

The state doesn't have any money for new road construction projects, and funding is falling short to make repairs to existing infrastructure. Gov. Mike DeWine says this is an impending crisis. And it’s looking more and more likely that the state will seek an gas tax increase to fill the hole. 

Streetcar in Cincinnati
BILL RINEHART / WVXU

Advocates for public transportation say they’re concerned that there’s no one from that sector on Gov. Mike DeWine’s committee that will recommend how to find money for major road construction projects. That group meets this week, but public transit might not be top of mind for the Ohio House leader either.

Don McCullough / Flickr

DriveOhio, Gov. John Kasich's innovation center for new technology within the Department of Transportation, launched a three-year, $5.9 million study this weekend to see how drones can be integrated to monitor roadways.

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