Chesapeake Bypass takes top priority

Published 9:51 am Friday, July 24, 2009

Put it back on top.

The Lawrence County Commission Thursday approved a resolution asking the Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 to reestablish Phase B of the Chesapeake Bypass as one of its highest priority projects.

The resolution came at the behest of Ralph Kline, assistant director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

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It asks that $173 million for the project be completely restored.

The bypass has been in the talked-about stage for more than 30 years but has not been completed.

Phase 1A, which extends State Route 607 from the 31st Street/East Huntington Bridge to Irene Road East and connects with State Route 775, was completed in 2003 and Phase 1B, between Irene Road at Proctorville and a point near Fairland East Elementary School on State Route 7, was completed in 2005.

But Phases 2 and 3 have been on the back burner since then, even thought then-Congressman Ted Strickland and his successor, Charlie Wilson have both secured federal monies for the project.

The second phase of the Chesapeake Bypass that would relocate Ohio 7 at Proctorville to connect it at Chesapeake. Once completed, the bypass will form the northern outer belt around the Tri-State metropolitan area.

Upon its completion the outer belt will ease local traffic congestion and provide alternative routing when I-64 is either closed or backed up.