It's spring, when not only flowers pop up but also orange construction barrels. Once such project, on I-70 in St. Clairsville, is just getting started and will be around for quite a while.
The westbound on-ramp to I-70 from Route 9 in St. Clairsville is too short. It's awkward and sometimes dangerous to merge into a highway you can't even see; so, the ramp project will solve several problems.
"This is going to allow us to lengthen the ramp," says Brett Porter, ODOT project engineer. "And it will also make it easier for drivers on the highway to see cars entering from the ramp."
But doing that creates complications. Just underneath is the National Road Bike Path, which will be impacted by the two-year project. In the end, the path will actually be enhanced with a picturesque tunnel rather than an open overpass, and walkers and cyclists won't miss a single day on the trail because ODOT has a plan.
"There will be a temporary bike path that they can use while we build the tunnel," says Porter. "Once we get the tunnel built, we'll route them back through it."
"That's great," says Ervin Anderson of St. Clairsville who uses the bike path frequently. "The exit there coming off Route 9 isn't a very good exit. If they can improve that exit, that's excellent. The walking trail is a real asset for St. Clairsville so if they can keep it open, that's great."
This $9.7 million project will replace several highway bridges, and drivers will need to pay attention. There will be lane shifts rather than detours, and officials say four lanes of traffic will be maintained at all times.
They say 42,000 vehicles a day drive that section of highway. The construction work begins immediately.