If you are traveling, probably nothing upsets you more than an encounter with a construction site where there is a delay or a need to take a detour. That is amplified when it is a holiday weekend and your hours are even more limited. Now, the Ohio Department of Transportation has a way for motorists like you to avoid traffic tie-ups during the 4th of July weekend by using ODOT’s new mobile app – OHGO – for personal traffic alerts, information on road construction and travel delays, and hands-free voice on the go.
“Whether it’s a daily check that you want to do, even a weekly check or looking ahead, the information that we have that we are able to communicate to the public as to where roads are going to be closed or what traffic alerts or advisories might be out there for them,” Public Information Officer for ODOT District 9, Kathleen Fuller, told the Daily Times. “It’s basically providing statewide roadway condition information.”
AAA predicts 1.8 million Ohioans will travel this 4th of July weekend. This marks the highest 4th of July travel volume on record and is an increase of 2.3 percent in Ohio from last year.
Halfway through 2016, the number of fatalities in Ohio is down two percent from this time last year. Of the 452 fatalities, 129 have been alcohol related.
“As always, we’re going to be looking for the alcohol-impaired driver,” Ohio State Highway Patrol Portsmouth Post Commander Lieutenant Mike Gore said. “That’s job one. And we’re going to have zero tolerance for people not wearing their safety belts, so they need to be wearing their safety belts. We’re still going to be focusing on speed because that’s the number one crash-causing violation.”
A check of OHGO online Thursday for southwest Ohio, for example, showed an accident on Ohio 35 and a disabled vehicle on I-75 northbound between Hopple and I-74 in Cincinnati. By knowing about these situations well in advance, motorists can avoid the delays.
“For our district, especially in Scioto County, everything will be pulled for U.S. 23, being reduced to one lane, for the project, the crews are going to move the barrels back and have it open for two lanes in each direction,” Fuller said. “So you won’t have any restrictions in our general area except for a couple of places where we have roads already closed, such as Ohio 104 in Pike County.”
Unfortunately, the July 4th holiday has one of the highest rates of drunk driving crashes each year. That’s why ODOT is reminding motorists that when you are celebrating, to do it responsibly.
As a reminder of the deadly cost of drunk driving, motorists will see “Freedom Doesn’t Include Driving Drunk” messages on signs over freeways this weekend.
“There are times when emergency situations come up that not everything gets put in there (OHGO) immediately for different reasons,” Fuller said. “Sometimes we’re not handling emergency situations. Our crews aren’t being called out, so we’re not made aware of it until it is already over with.”
While work is suspended over the holiday weekend, work will resume on July 5th with a number of NEW projects in each district.
Gore summed up the 4th of July celebration theme:
“If you’re gonna drink, find somebody who is not drinking to drive.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.