Strickland helps secure #036;1.25M for Chesy Bypass

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 29, 2004

Washington - No one in Lawrence County has forgotten about the Chesapeake Bypass and apparently at least one person in Washington hasn't either.

Congressman Ted Strickland announced Saturday that he has secured a $1.25 million earmark for the Chesapeake Bypass, also known as the Tri-State Metro Outerbelt.

The funding is included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill which passed the House by a vote of 344 – 51.

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"I sought this funding to help keep the Chesapeake Bypass project alive," Strickland said.

"We suffered a setback this year when ODOT failed to give the Chesapeake Bypass a Tier One ranking.

But it is my hope that this new funding will help push it back to Tier One and, at long last, make this project a reality."

Strickland has now successfully earmarked a total of $12.75 million for the Chesapeake Bypass.

The project was moved to the Transportation Review Advisory Committee (TRAC) Tier I ranking following the adoption of Strickland’s Southern Ohio Highway Compact, which made the project a regional priority for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

However, it subsequently failed to remain on Tier I as the project has moved forward.

Lawrence County Commissioner Jason Stephens called the announcement good news.

"Anytime we can get federal funding, it puts a priority on our project and helps move it forward," he said. "We are never going to give up on it. It is just something we have to be determined about."

Stephens added that it is important for everyone to work together on the project that should transcend any party lines.

Strickland said he hopes that the money he has secured in the budget bill will be used to continue property acquisition for the project

"This project is vital to our region," Strickland said.

"I will continue to push for its completion despite the changing mood in Columbus.

ODOT made a commitment to finishing the bypass, and I will keep fighting to see that it gets done."

Local leaders have tried to emphasize the importance to traffic flow connecting Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

The project relocates State Route 7 in Union and Rome Townships and completes the bypass of Chesapeake and Proctorville.