Ohio Department of Transportation

photo of roads
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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

The move allows the Department of Transportation to get federal funding for road repairs. ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning says they’ll be identifying the affected roads over the next two weeks. But they will consider more than just the level of damage.

photo of closed road
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Nearly three quarters of Ohio’s counties are under a "state of emergency" declaration because of severe weather last month. 

Gov. Mike DeWine has declared a "state of emergency" in 63 of Ohio’s 88 counties where severe weather caused serious highway damage in June. The heavy rain and flash floods compromised the integrity of roads and bridges. Some of them still remain closed or have lane restrictions.

a photo of a field with Pollinator Project sign
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

If you drive Ohio highways you may have noticed more flowers and taller grass on the side of the road.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has begun planting wildflowers along highways across the state with the goal of creating habitats for pollinators.

Each site requires $400 to get started, but ODOT press secretary Matt Bruning said the project will save Ohio taxpayers millions.

“Just last year, we’ve already saved about $2.28 Million in just reducing our mowing of these areas, and that number’s going to continue to grow as we continue to expand these.”

trucks use left lane sign
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

It’s orange barrel season and one of our listeners asked our OH Really team an interesting question about sharing the road in construction zones.

We helped him find the answer.

On route 8 in northern Summit County, traffic has been reduced to two lanes in each direction and concrete barriers are set up as crews resurface a six mile section of the road. There are signs throughout the construction zone that illustrate listener Seth Marks’ concern.  

photo of Lordstown GM assembly line
YOUR VOICE OHIO

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, March 18: 

photo of Jack Marchbanks
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The director of the Ohio Department of Transportation is not pleased with the decision by the House Finance Committee to cut Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed 18 cent gas tax increase down to just under 11 cents. But he’s holding out hope. 

ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said the vote to cut the increase on gasoline from 18 cents per gallon to 10.7 cents and to make the increase on diesel fuel 20 cents is disappointing.

photo of Larry Obhof
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed 18-cent hike in the gas tax is still before state lawmakers. They would have to approve it as part of the transportation budget, which must be signed into law by March 31. The  Republican leader in the Ohio Senate says if that tax goes up, he wants another one to go down.

Senate President Larry Obhof says if lawmakers have to hike the gas tax, it should be paired at some point with a tax cut.

“I think we should do an income tax cut anyway. But I absolutely would support doing an offset.”

a photo of gas pumps
ROSCHETZKY PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK

Gov. Mike DeWine is proposing an 18-cent hike to the gas tax in order to avoid what he’s calling an impending crisis with Ohio’s roads and bridges. There’s a provision in DeWine’s plan that is drawing concerns from lawmakers.

DeWine’s plan would take Ohio’s gas tax from 28 cents a gallon to 46 cents a gallon. The Ohio Department of Transportation says that would generate $1.2 billion next year.

But the plan also calls for increasing the gas tax every year based on inflation.

photo of Larry Householder
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The committee reviewing the financial situation facing the Ohio Department of Transportation heard testimony for a second day today – and is expected to release a report recommending funding solutions very soon. And it seems likely that an increase in the gas tax will be part of it. 

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) says he’s all ears when it comes to a possible gas tax.

KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The road ahead is rough for the Ohio Department of Transportation, according to the agency’s director. He spoke before a panel that will recommend to Gov. Mike DeWine how to fund major new road construction, telling them that money is also running out for maintenance of existing infrastructure.

ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said 15 years of flat revenues from the gas tax, inflation in highway construction costs and huge debt payments have driven the agency into jeopardy.

“It is a grim financial situation. It is also a dangerous one,” Marchbanks said. 

Karen Kasler

News that there’s no money for new road construction projects in the transportation budget coming next month has state lawmakers considering how to fix that. And one Republican leader isn’t ruling out a hike in the gas tax. 

ODOT’s construction budget has come from bonds taken out against the Ohio Turnpike, but that revenue stream is drying up, leaving ODOT with an estimated $700 million less than it had five years ago. So Senate President Larry Obhof says all options are on the table, including an increase in the 28-cent a gallon gas tax.

a photo of a new Ohio welcome sign
ODOT

The state department of transportation has a bigger job than usual in changing the 38 road signs at Ohio’s borders that feature the new governor’s name.   

The signs are meant to last at least 20 years, so ODOT usually just replaces the names of the governor and lieutenant governor. But ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning says because the state’s tourism logo changed in 2015, all the signs were set to be replaced.

Ohio State Fair
WIKIPEDIA

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, September 17: 

  • Ohio State Fair contract with operator of fatal ride;
  • Akron borrows more money for sewer project;
  • Boyfriend charged after remains of missing woman Akron found;
  • Ohio Supreme Court to decide conviction for couple who failed to receive medical care for daughter;
  • Construction project begins on State Route 8;

Ohio State Fair ends contract with operator of fatal ride

photo of Cleveland Interstate 77 closures
GOOGLE MAPS

The closure of much of I-77 in Cleveland over the weekend was canceled due to weather, and the closures are now slated to take place this coming weekend.

The closures will happen on I-77 between 480 and 490, the five-mile stretch of road that takes cars directly into downtown Cleveland.

photo of RTA blue line train
MICHAEL BARERA / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, May 23:

Utica Shale Drillling RIg
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, April 4:

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, March 5:

photo of snow plow
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

State road crews have been out in force since before the storm started Friday.

Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning says 1,300 snow plows and 3,000 employees were out working on roads before and as the snow and ice storm began. He says this kind of storm is the most difficult for ODOT.

photo of Pilot Flying J
MICHAEL RIVERA / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, Jan. 8:

Ohio Department of Transportation logo
ODOT

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.

Big projects are planned on freeways in Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo, and work continues on the largest project ever in southern Ohio, the Portsmouth bypass.

State Snow Plows
Ohio Department of Transportation

Ohio’s Department of Transportation is bracing for another round of snow and ice. ODOT Director Jerry Wray says the agency has a new system that tracks its more than 1,600 plow trucks in real time, to clear roads as soon as possible.

“We will have every mile of priority roads back to their average operating speed within two hours of the time the storm stops. And around the state for the last several years, we’ve done that 98 percent of the time.”

Ohio voting sticker
STATE OF OHIO

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, November 7th:

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, November 1st:

ODOT Meetng on HOF Interchange
Tim Rudell / WKSU

No homes, places of business or local tax dollars will be involved in improving the I-77/U.S. 62 interchange near the expanding Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

At a public meeting last night, the Ohio Department of Transportation said the plan involves only an addition of lanes to some already in place. So, there will be no new property acquisition., according to project finance planner Steve Rebillot.

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