More than 38 million Americans are expected to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, the traditional kickoff to the summer travel season.
About 37,999,999 of them will encounter some highway construction.
That’s a little bit of an exaggeration. But just a little bit, especially in Northeast Ohio.
There are a ton of orange barrels positioned now around Akron — and more are coming.
“I can see how it could be very overwhelming,” said Curtis Baker, interim director of the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study. “The reality is there is going to be a lot of work in the area and we’re all going to have to get used to it.”
Here’s a look at some of the key areas in Northeast Ohio to avoid, if you can, this summer:
Interstate 76 (Part 1)
I-76 in Norton and Barberton is being widened to three lanes in each direction between state Route 21 and Central Avenue.
The $97.6 million project includes replacing the pavement from the Medina County line to Route 21 and bridge work.
The project kicks off in August. It’s expected to end in July 2019.
Interstate 76 (Part 2)
ODOT is shutting down the portion of the highway known as the Kenmore leg in Akron to re-stripe the road into three lanes.
It’s now two lanes.
The eastbound lanes — which run north — are expected to be closed the weekend of June 3-5, depending on the weather.
The westbound lanes — which run south — will be closed after that.
ODOT also is changing traffic patterns around the I-77 and I-277/U.S. Route 224 interchanges.
Interstate 76 (Part 3)
The I-76 interchange with South Main Street and South Broadway in Akron is being rebuilt.
The $149 million project involves removing the interchanges at Wolf Ledges Parkway and Grant Street.
The work, which already has begun with the razing of buildings in the area, is expected to be completed in October 2019.
Interstate 76 (Part 4)
ODOT is in the process of removing three bridges on I-76/77 over Johnston Street in Akron.
The construction so far has taken place below the bridges, but the $20 million project is expected to begin on the highway in early August.
Two lanes will be maintained at all times, ODOT spokesman Brent Kovacs said.
But several ramps will be closed for 110 days, causing a major inconvenience for many motorists. The closures are:
•?The state Route 8 southbound ramp to I-76 westbound.
•?The I-77 northbound ramp to I-76 westbound.
•?The I-76 eastbound ramp to I-77 southbound.
The project is expected to be completed in July 2017.
Interstate 271 (Part 1)
ODOT has been replacing the pavement on I-271 and repairing nine bridges in Richfield and Richfield Township for several years.
The $49.8 million project is expected to be completed in July 2017.
Interstate 271 (Part 2)
Motorists have been dealing with the widening of I-271 through Macedonia for several years.
The $48.1 million project also has involved work on bridges and ramps. The work is expected to wrap up in October.
Interstate 271 (Part 3)
Just as one massive I-271 project is ending, another one is beginning.
ODOT will begin widening the highway through Bedford, Bedford Heights, Oakwood and Warrensville Heights.
The $117 million project will begin sometime after the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. It’s not expected to be completed until 2020.
The good news, ODOT spokeswoman Amanda McFarland said, is that all current traffic lanes will be maintained.
I-77 in Brecksville and Richfield are being widened from two to three lanes.
The $38.8 million project is expected to begin in August and be completed in October 2019.
Interstate 80 (Part 1)
ODOT is replacing the pavement and widening I-80 in Mahoning County from four to six lanes.
The $102 million project, which began last year, is expected to be completed in July 2018.
Interstate 80 (Part 2)
ODOT is replacing two bridges on I-80 over Mt. Everett Road in Hubbard Township in Trumbull County.
The $13.2 million project began several years ago and is expected to be completed in October.
ODOT is replacing the pavement on Interstate 90 in Austinburg, Saybrook and Plymouth townships in Ashtabula County.
The $70.6 million project, which began several years ago, includes work on bridges.
The work is expected to be wrapped up in November.
U.S. Route 30
ODOT is making pavement repairs and resurfacing U.S. Route 30 between the Canton city limit and just west of state Route 43.
The $13 million project also includes bridge repairs on I-77, Route 30 and U.S. Route 62. The work is expected to be completed in October.
The Ohio Turnpike is working on its largest capital improvement program in 15 years.
The commission expects to spend as much as $144.5 million this year on projects throughout northern Ohio.
The work includes replacing a five-mile stretch from Streetsboro to Shalersville Township in Portage County. The local work will continue into November.
The commission also is replacing the pavement and doing bridge work around Elyria Township in Lorain County and replacing the pavement in Jackson and Austintown in Mahoning County.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.