UPDATE: Portsmouth bypass opens to traffic

By  | 

SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – UPDATE 12/14/18 @ 8:10 a.m.
Drivers were waving and honking their horns as the Portsmouth bypass opened to traffic early Friday morning.

The new Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway, also known as state Route 823, opened at 8 a.m. Friday.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Thursday for the 16-mile stretch of highway that will connect U.S. 52 at Sciotoville to U.S. 23 near Lucasville.

The project cost $500M and took years to complete.

It's a 16-mile stretch of four-lane highway, allowing drivers to travel 70 mph – cutting nearly 20 minutes off the typical commute between the two locations through Portsmouth.



UPDATE 12/13/18 @ 6:15 p.m.
Years in the making and nearly $500 million later, a new bypass is nearly ready for drivers in southeast Ohio.

Starting Friday morning, drivers will be able to use the new Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Thursday for the 16-mile stretch of highway that will connect U.S. 52 near Wheelersburg to U.S. 23 near Lucasville.

It's a 16-mile stretch of four-lane highway, allowing drivers to travel 70 mph – cutting nearly 20 minutes off the typical commute between the two locations through Portsmouth.

The project has been underway since 2016. Some people in their 70s say they remember the project being discussed when they were kids. It’s a battle many thought they wouldn’t win.

“More importantly, it was the financing,” said Jerry Wray, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation. “It can be difficult to find this money for these projects when you are fighting for rural Ohio against urban Ohio. So this a good day in southern Ohio.”

We’re told the bypass, also known as state Route 823, will officially open at 8:30 a.m. Friday.



UPDATE 11/27/18 @ 9:55 p.m.
Drivers anxiously awaiting the opening of the new Portsmouth bypass may not have much longer to wait.

Construction of the four-lane, 16-mile bypass has been running ahead of schedule. It will connect U.S. 52 and U.S. 23, saving drivers about 20 minutes on their commute around Portsmouth.

Crews have been working on the finishing touches the last few weeks.

The nearly $430 million project is expected to be finished by mid-December.



UPDATE 4/3/18 @ 2 p.m.
A $430 million bypass project to connect U.S. 52 and U.S. 23 is expected to open late this year, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) officials say.

The initial timeline for the completion date was mid-December. ODOT reports that construction is a little ahead of schedule, but they say recent weather hasn't helped.

ODOT officials hope to have a better idea in June for when it can open to the public.

The 16-mile long bypass is expected to save about 20 minutes for drivers who are looking to bypass Portsmouth. When it's open, it will be four lanes with a 70 mph speed limit.

Currently, crews are focused on construction on bridges and overpasses.



ORIGINAL STORY 8/3/16
It’s a project many in Scioto County thought they would never live to see.

Work is underway on a $429 million project that will eventually connect traffic from westbound U.S. 52 outside of Portsmouth to northbound U.S. 23, just outside of Lucasville.

Wednesday evening, officials with the Ohio Department of Transportation held an open house at the project’s field office to allow community members to get a sneak peek of the project and answer questions.

“My husband had always talked about it for years. He said we'll never see it happen,” Rose Smith, of Minford, Ohio, told WSAZ. “This is something we have needed for so long but never thought we would see it.”

Smith’s husband died before the project began. Buy it excites her to get to see the project, which is more than 50 years in the making, finally come to fruition.

Construction on the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway, commonly known as the Portsmouth bypass, is a little more than a year in and about 45 percent complete.

ODOT officials say, once the road is open it'll cut back on the heavy truck traffic through Portsmouth. It’ll also decrease travel time for drivers in our region heading north toward Columbus by more than 15 minutes.

“In the end, we're not only saving travel time, we're going to improve safety,” ODOR District 9 spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller says. We're going to help the mobility and we're also hoping to open up this area for economic development, which is key, and that's really important for this project and for this area.”

Once the project is finished, the bypass will have 72 lane miles, five interchanges, two partial interchanges and could see more than 14,000 cars travel on it daily. It’ll also allow easier access to the local airport and other spots of Scioto County and help boost the economy in more vacant parts of the area.

Fuller says it’s already helped the economy in the area because it has put more than 400 local construction workers to work.

The project is in conjunction with Portsmouth Gateway Group, who will manage and maintain the bypass for the first 35 years after the road opens except for ice and snow removal.

The bypass is scheduled to open to traffic by December 2018.



 
Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus