Driving on Interstate 271 will soon be a lot more annoying — at least for a few years.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is moving forward with more than $235 million worth of major projects along the highway, stretching all the way from Richfield to Bedford Heights.
The work starting this year includes replacing the pavement through Richfield and Richfield Township and widening the freeway from two to three lanes through Macedonia.
“You’re going to see a lot of dirt,” ODOT spokesman Justin Chesnic said. “It’s going to look like two pretty heavy construction zones.”
The state agency also plans to widen the highway between Macedonia and Interstate 480 in Cuyahoga County, although that effort isn’t set to begin until 2016, just as the Summit County portion is wrapping up.
The Summit County projects this year are part of the state’s overall $2.5 billion construction season — the most expensive ever undertaken.
State officials kicked off the season Thursday at events around the state, highlighting 936 projects and crediting the record amount of money being spent on selling $1.5 billion in bonds through the Ohio Turnpike.
Thanks to the bond sale and future projects such as reconfiguring the South Main Street-South Broadway interchange with Interstates 76/77, there could be close to $500 million in work done in Summit alone through 2018, said Anthony Urankar, deputy director of ODOT District 4 in Coventry Township.
Overall, $140 million worth of projects are slated for Summit County this year.
The I-271 work is the most significant in the Akron area this year. Crews already have started working on the stretch that runs from about Interstate 77 to Interstate 80.
The work includes digging up the pavement and repairing nine bridges. The Broadway bridge over the highway also will be closed this summer for 90 days.
Motorists also will soon see lanes shift on the highway for the pavement work. Two lanes will remain open during peak travel times, Chesnic said.
The Macedonia portion is expected to begin in June or July. The work there involves adding a lane in each direction from state Route 8 to the Cuyahoga County line.
The on-ramp from state Route 82 also will be relocated.
About 70,000 vehicles a day use the highway in that Macedonia area — the number jumps to 112,000 where I-271 hits Interstate 480 just a few miles north.
Here’s a rundown of some other major projects in the Akron area, some of which were started in past years or began earlier this year:
• Replace the bridge pavement along I-77 between I-480 and Grant Avenue in Cleveland.
The $27 million project has already started and involves shifting lanes and lane closures.
• Work will continue on the $287 million effort to replace the Innerbelt in Cleveland.
• Replace the Sleepy Hollow Road bridge over Interstate 271. The $959,820 project includes a 150-day detour.
• Replace the Remsen Road bridge over Interstate 271. The $992,030 project includes a 180-day detour.
• Resurface state Route 94 from Brunswick to the Summit County line. It’s a $1.5 million project.
• Rebuild the southbound exit ramp from Interstate 71 to state Route 303. The $3.2 million project includes closing the ramp during the work, which is supposed to start in May.
• Resurface state Route 5 from east of state Route 59 to the Trumbull County line. The $3.9 million project includes minor repairs to six bridges.
• Resurface state Route 14 from state Route 88 to state Route 183 in Ravenna and Edinburg townships. The $2.2 million project includes minor bridge repairs, culvert replacements and the realignment of Hayes Road and state Route 14.
• Widen state Route 800 from 33rd Street to 43rd Street in Canton to add turn lanes. The $9.4 million project is slated to begin this summer.
• Resurface portions of state Route 241 in Jackson Township, Massillon and Tuscarawas Township. The project, broken into two parts, is estimated at $3.3 million.
• Resurface I-77 from the Tuscarawas County line to Canton. The $14.3 million, ongoing project is almost complete, Chesnic said.
• Resurface state Route 59 — also known as the Akron Innerbelt. The $6.9 million project has already begun.
It will involve various ramp closures through the summer. ODOT vowed to work with the hospitals and entertainment destinations downtown that will be impacted.
“That’s a pretty big one affecting motorists,” Chesnic said about the road.
• Replace the Akron Cleveland Road bridge over a Metro Parks trail in Boston Heights. The $3.5 million project will begin this summer.
• Widen 31st Street from Wooster Road to Shannon Avenue to add a two-way left turn lane. The $3.7 million project also includes signal upgrades and should begin this summer.
• Resurface state Route 261 (Tallmadge Avenue) from Brittain Road to the Tallmadge Circle in Akron and Tallmadge.
The $700,000 project is expected to begin in August. It will involve closing the road from Wright Road to the circle on four nights.
• Construct noise walls along state Route 8 at I-271 in Macedonia. The $5.2 million project is underway.
• Widen State Road in Cuyahoga Falls. The $9.2 million, multiyear project is underway.
• Resurface I-77 from Waterloo Road to the Central Interchange in Akron. The $4.4 million project also involves minor repairs to 16 bridges.
• Resurface Route 8 in Northfield. The $800,000 project will begin this summer.
• Resurface state Route 226 from the Holmes County line to state Route 3. The $1.3 million project is expected to begin in June.
• Resurface state Route 94 from U.S. Route 30A to Fox Lake Road. The $1.29 million project is expected to begin in June.
For more details and a list of all the local projects, go online to www.dot.state.oh.us and click on the local district office and then find the “Construction Book.”
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.