ODOT announces plans for 'SmartLane' project to help ease traffic on I-670

Future overhead message boards (Photo/ODOT)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio Department of Transportation said construction for an extra travel lane on Interstate 670 will begin summer 2018.

The ‘SmartLane’ is an extra lane that will only be open 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to help ease traffic congestion on I-670 eastbound, according to ODOT.

Construction for the ‘SmartLane’ will start at the Fourth Street exit in downtown Columbus and extend to I-270.

ODOT said it plans to rebuild the shoulder lane on the left side of the highway to ensure the pavement is safe and passable for all traffic.

Overhead message boards every three-quarters of a mile will alert drivers when the ‘SmartLane’ is available; free of debris and stopped vehicles. A green arrow means the ‘SmartLane’ is open; while a red X indicates the extra lane is closed. The overhead message boards will also alert drivers of incidents up ahead such as accidents or disabled vehicles.

The message boards will also indicate the reduced speed when the ‘SmartLane’ is open. ODOT says traveling at a slower speed keeps traffic moving during congestion as opposed to a ‘stop and go’ condition which can extend your commute and cause accidents.

“The appeal of the SmartLane is the low cost and low impact that’s associated with widening a highway,” ODOT Director Jerry Wray said. “This is re-purposing the shoulder which already exists and making it available to drivers when it is needed most-- in this case for the afternoon drive home.”

ODOT is coordinating construction of the ‘SmartLane’ with an interchange improvement project at I-670/I-270 and US Route 62. ODOT will build two new ramp bridges to carry eastbound I-670 traffic to I-270 and I-270 traffic through the Easton area.

Traffic will be maintained during construction on I-670 eastbound and through the interchange at I-270. ODOT said it will try to schedule closures and restrictions at night and on weekends when traffic volumes in the area are lightest.

“A lot more traffic cameras will also be installed along eastbound I-670 to monitor the entire seven-mile route from downtown to I-270. These cameras will allow us to monitor the SmartLane 24/7 from the ODOT Traffic Management Center,” Wray said.

Construction is expected to be complete in 2019.

You can check out the ODOT ‘SmartLane’ project here.

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