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Ohio enters largest-ever road construction season

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Mark Heyne
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WVXU News
They're ready and raring to go.

You know spring has really arrived when orange barrel season officially gets underway.  Ohio and local transportation officials got it rolling Thursday with a news conference at the corner of Fields-Ertel and Mason-Montgomery, a congested intersection next to I-71 that is slated for a loop ramp to make it easier and safer for drivers to navigate.    

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Credit Ohio Department of Transportation
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Ohio Department of Transportation
New loop ramp at Fields-Ertel/Mason-Montgomery and I-71.

The interchange project is one of many the Ohio Department of Transportation said will make this state construction season the largest ever and put a lot of Ohioans back to work.

"We have over 930 projects that'll go to construction this season, some $2.5 billion we anticipate in construction funding for this year," said ODOT District 8 Deputy Director Steve Mary.

About $1.5 billion of that is from Governor John Kasich's decision to leverage Ohio Turnpike revenue in the form of bonds.

A new interchange on I-71 is also on the agenda.  Hamilton County Engineer Ted Hubbard described the new Martin Luther King interchange as "very, very important" to the area.  

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Credit Ohio Department of Transportation
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Ohio Department of Transportation
The new MLK interchange will provide improved access to Cincinnati's uptown.

"This project will help provide better access to the Cincinnati uptown hospital district and the University of Cincinnati and its 42,000 students," said Hubbard.

Another project that continues this season is the reconstruction of the interchange at I-275 and State Route 32 in the Eastgate area.   

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Credit Ohio Department of Transportation
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Ohio Department of Transportation
Work continues on the I-275/SR 32 interchange.

Here's a link to other major projects across the state.

ODOT's Mary is urging drivers to be careful through work zones.  He noted that Ohio now has a law that requires vehicles to move over one lane or slow down for roadside workers.