Wall construction to close I-70 ramp for two months

Credit: Eileen McClory

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Credit: Eileen McClory

Traffic to be rerouted through Huber Heights; ramp will be closed through May 17

The Interstate 70 east ramp to Interstate 75 north will be closed for two months for safety improvements starting next week, as crews remove and replace an existing wall for safety reasons.

The ramp will be closed Monday, March 15, through Monday, May 17 and the Ohio Department of Transportations plans to reroute traffic to Ohio 202 in Huber Heights.

ODOT spokesman Tiffany Oliphant said the taller wall design has a portion that sits below the pavement to help keep it stable when getting hit by larger vehicles.

“The current project is replacing the barrier with a taller wall where rollover crashes have occurred on the ramp,” Oliphant said.

Ohio Departement of transportation will close the Interstate 70 eastbound ramp to Interstate 75 northbound on Monday, March, 15, through Monday, May 17, for saftey inprovements. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
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Ohio Departement of transportation will close the Interstate 70 eastbound ramp to Interstate 75 northbound on Monday, March, 15, through Monday, May 17, for saftey inprovements. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Rob Schommer, Huber Heights city manager, said the city found out about the plans in a press release on Thursday and didn’t have any ability to speak to ODOT about the implications about increased traffic prior to the announcement. However, he said the city is now speaking with ODOT about alternative routes to avoid adding a heavy traffic load to Route 202 and I-70.

“We have asked for information about increased traffic flow based on their proposed detour and hope to have additional information early next week according to ODOT personnel,” Schommer said on Thursday.

Route 202, or Old Troy Pike, is considered one of the busiest roads in Huber Heights. Scott Falkowski, assistant city manager, said the average daily traffic on Old Troy Pike south of I-70 is 26,500 vehicles. Falkowski and mayor Jeff Gore said they are currently looking at ways to reduce the traffic on the road after increasing complaints on social media about Old Troy Pike.

Eastbound I-70 to northbound I-75 (Ramp E, or the Loop Ramp) will be closed between Monday, March 15 and Monday, May 17. COURTESY OF ODOT
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Eastbound I-70 to northbound I-75 (Ramp E, or the Loop Ramp) will be closed between Monday, March 15 and Monday, May 17. COURTESY OF ODOT

Crashes are not uncommon on the ramp. In 2017, nine crashes occurred on the ramp, according to ODOT. In 2019, two crashes occurred on the ramp.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, three commercial vehicle crashes have occurred on the same ramp in the last year. Two of those crashes resulted only in property damage and the third involved a minor injury.

Chagrin Valley Paving is the contractor for ODOT and the cost is more than $770,800.

The project will also involve installing arrow signs, also known as chevron signs, around the I-70 eastbound to I-75 northbound ramp as well as on I-75 northbound to I-70 westbound, I-75 southbound to 70 eastbound, and I-70 westbound to I-75 southbound, to help guide traffic.

The interchange is relatively busy. The I-70/75 Interchange sees on average 185,000 vehicles per day for 2019 and 155,000 vehicles per day for 2020, Oliphant said, though the global pandemic has meant fewer people are driving. Traffic volumes in Ohio were down more than 15% from 2019 to 2020.

The I-70 eastbound to I-75 northbound does not have as much traffic as some of the other ramps at this interchange, Oliphant said, adding on average, about 3,247 cars use the I-70 eastbound to I-75 northbound ramp daily.

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Tom Balzer, president and CEO of the Ohio Trucking Association, said he hadn’t heard much about the project. However, he noted the interchange is used frequently by truckers and the closure could affect them.

A resurfacing project was completed in 2020 and in 2016, and there was construction on the same ramp to replace the guardrail with the concrete wall that is now there. The construction on the barrier will further help keep drivers safe.

“Once construction is complete the barrier wall will be another safeguard in place to protect drivers from leaving the roadway, by reducing serious overturn crashes,” Oliphant said.

Contact Eileen McClory at 937-694-2016 or eileen.mcclory@coxinc.com.