Key part of $13 million U.S. 35 widening project completed

An old view of the U.S. 35 lanes just west of Smithville Road, where three lanes are squeezed down to two in each direction. FILE
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An old view of the U.S. 35 lanes just west of Smithville Road, where three lanes are squeezed down to two in each direction. FILE

After more than a year of work, three lanes of U.S. 35 opened in each direction between I-675 and Smithville Road on Wednesday.

U.S. 35 was already three lanes in each direction from downtown to Smithville, but rush-hour traffic backups were common in this stretch where the highway narrowed to two lanes.

The Ohio Department of Transportation says the added lane will reduce traffic congestion and improve safety.

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Construction on that part of U.S. 35 is not totally finished. Temporary lane closures may still occur this fall as contractors for ODOT remove traffic control items and install reflective markers on lane lines.

The three lanes in each direction will remain open through the winter. ODOT spokesman Tiffany Oliphant said the final remaining work on the project will start in spring 2022.

That includes maximizing bridge clearance under Woodman Drive, constructing a new median wall, widening the shoulder along that stretch of freeway and resurfacing the Woodman Drive entrance ramp to U.S. 35 westbound.

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Beginning next spring, U.S. 35 eastbound will see right lane closures so crews can install a new barrier wall and rehabilitate part of the existing sound wall, Oliphant said.

Beginning next summer, U.S. 35 will experience nightly lane closures in both directions for the final paving operations.

Barrett Paving Materials Inc. has been leading the project, which was contracted for $13.2 million. It was done simultaneously with another project to reconfigure the U.S. 35-Smithville interchange.

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