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ODOT to combine eastern projects

State transportation leaders have merged part of the Chesapeake Bypass project with the third lane Ohio 7 project in Proctorville.

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

State transportation leaders have merged part of the Chesapeake Bypass project with the third lane Ohio 7 project in Proctorville.

After a December public meeting, an idea surfaced that it would be best to connect Irene Road near the East Huntington Bridge in Proctorville, with the bypass, Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 deputy director John Hagen said.

"So, when the three-lane widening starts in Proctorville, there won’t be such a big traffic jam," Hagen said.

The three lanes will start near the 607 loop and go up to the fairgrounds, and will be concrete which makes the project faster, he said.

It’s scheduled to start about March 2002 – delayed because of the time it takes to negotiate with 66 different property owners for 1.68 acres of right of way, Hagen said.

"So, we’ll build the other section (of the bypass) first and that will help traffic in the long-term."

The bypass, on the books since the 1960s, received new life in recent years thanks to a federal transportation funding bill, Hagen said, speaking Friday at the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

ODOT officials unrolled detailed drawings of the bypass, explaining its progress to date and expected progress in years to come.

The state has $40 million – enough to build the buy the right of way for the entire project and construct the first phase – a two lane highway constructed on four lanes of space.

The bypass construction bids were supposed to sell in March 2002, but ODOT must deal with 340 properties that includes 74 relocations, so consultants said the timeline must be adjusted, Hagen said.

ODOT will start appraising properties next week and begin buyouts in April. Then, the project will be split, with the Proctorville connection work beginning first in 2002 so ODOT can begin the three-lane widening in Proctorville in 2003.

As its designed, the entire bypass will start at Chesapeake and move east to the area of Fairland East Elementary, Hagen said.

There isn’t a complicated interchange at the east end, because ODOT wants to wait on what’s happening across the river in West Virginia, he said.

A new road project there might put a bridge across the river, but officials don’t know yet.

"So, we don’t want to design an interchange right now."