|Ohio careful in putting bypass through forest|
|Written by Associated Press|
|Monday, 29 July 2013 12:18|
NELSONVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Officials working on a new bypass road that cuts through a national forest in southeast Ohio say the state is spending more than $10 million to make sure wildlife and the environment are protected.
The four-lane $175 million Nelsonville bypass on U.S. 33 is expected to be completed this fall. Around 60 percent of the bypass is on Wayne National Forest land.
Extraordinary measures were taken to mitigate the impact of putting a highway through the forest, Anthony Durm, the Ohio Department of Transportation's project manager for environmental issues on the bypass project, told The Athens Messenger (http://bit.ly/1bBKvqm ).
"I'm not aware of any project within Ohio that has gotten involved in mitigation on so many levels as this one has," Durm said.
The environmental mediation work on the project costs about $10.4 million, ODOT spokesman David Rose said.
State officials have dealt with wildlife, plant life, recreation, aesthetics, water and soil and mine acid drainage in building the four-lane highway through Ohio's only national forest. Measures include fences to keep deer off the highway and underpasses for smaller animals.
Durm said the project could be a model for others that warrant such measures.
On most projects, the state buys land for right of way. On the Nelsonville bypass, much of the right of way is an easement through the national forest. More than 350 acres of the forest are affected by the highway, including both the pavement and right of way.
The forest covers almost a quarter million acres of Appalachian foothills. U.S. 33 is heavily used by motorists traveling to Ohio University in Athens from points all over the state. The bypass is expected to relieve traffic jams on the two-lane road through Nelsonville.
Information from: The Athens Messenger, http://www.athensmessenger.com/
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
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