Chesapeake Bypass still on ODOT TRAC list

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 14, 2006

CHESAPEAKE — They didn’t forget us, but they didn’t exactly overwhelm us, either.

The Transportation Review Advisory Committee (TRAC) of the Ohio Department of Transportation has released its projects list for the 2007-2012 construction funding cycle.

The Chesapeake Bypass Phase 2 remained on the TRAC’s Tier 2, or lower, list of projects but did not get any state funding set aside for it.

Email newsletter signup

According to ODOT information, Tier 2 projects are ones that are “under active development” but do not have any monies set aside and are therefore not guaranteed funding in the future. Such projects can be dropped from the TRAC list altogether.

Phase 2 was the only Lawrence County Project to make the list at all. The Ironton-Russell Bridge project is not under the auspices of TRAC and has its monies set aside for it already.

Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the Greater Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, and TRAC said given the construction market conditions, remaining on the list was a feat in itself.

“There were a number of projects that didn’t stay on the list,” Dingus said. “This is probably the toughest time in recent history for the construction industry. Costs have gone up as much as 30 percent. I felt good the project was able to stay on. Realistically, you’ve got to look at the ones that have been delayed or are not on the list at all.”

The bypass does have $1.25 million in federal funds earmarked for right of way acquisition. That funding was announced last year by U.S. Sixth District Rep. Ted Strickland.

The project was dropped from the lower tier in late 2004, but put back on the list in 2005 after Strickland secured the federal funding.

TRAC Spokesman Ryan Larzelere said the bypass project was ranked low because of two key issues.

“The department (of transportation) ran a number of studies relating to traffic congestion and accident rates and believe it or not, this project has some of the lowest rate,” he said.

The Ohio Department of Transportation typically works on a six-year construction and planning cycle, adding a year of new projects annually. This round of TRAC project funding commitments covers next year and the five following years.

The majority of projects getting Tier 1 status were in Hamilton, Cuyahoga, Montgomery and Franklin counties.