The Nelsonville Bypass is the final upgrade of the U.S. 33 corridor in southeast Ohio, which in planning also included the Ravenswood Connector and Lancaster Bypass.
Phase II and III of the U.S. 33 Nelsonville Bypass have been funded from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, allowing the project to be completed nearly six years ahead of Ohio Department of Transportation’s construction schedule. It will likely be completed and open to traffic in 2013.
“This historic investment has been decades in the making,” said ODOT District 10 Deputy Director, Karen Pawloski. “Not only is this project going to make travel safer for motorists, but has already put more than two hundred fifty Ohioans to work in only nine months.”
As of Jan. 1, 2010, contractors have paid out more than $2.1 million dollars in paychecks.
To date, Kokosing Construction Company has excavated more than 1.1 million cubic yards of dirt and embankment. In addition, the new alignment requires two valleys to be filled with more than three million cubic yards of dirt.
“We have three crews aggressively excavating dirt,” said ODOT Project Engineer Cary Betzing, Pomeroy. “In a ten-hour shift we can excavate up to twenty four thousand cubic yards of dirt.”
With millions of yards of dirt left to excavate, soil stability is an important factor when building a new four-lane highway. To mitigate settling and increase soil stability, ODOT and Kokosing are using a wick drain apparatus to quickly remove water 30 feet below ground. Throughout the project, ODOT will use more than 200,000 feet of wick drain.
Phase II of the Nelsonville Bypass includes more than three miles of highway earth work and 4.56 miles of four-lane paving.
Phase II also consists of construction of the west interchange as well as the construction of four bridges.
The larger of the two phases, Beaver Excavating has excavated more than 3.2 million cubic yards of dirt and embankment since October, 2009.
A unique construction feature of Phase III includes mine grouting, in which Phase III requires an estimated 500,000 cubic yards of grout to fill old abandoned mine voids.
“At one time Nelsonville had a huge coal mining industry,” explained Daniel McDonald, ODOT Project Engineer.
“However, there were minimal mining regulations in the early 1900’s and many of the mines were just abandoned. These old mine voids need to be filled to prevent any slippage along the highway.”
Phase III is most visible from existing US Route 33, where on the eastside of Nelsonville motorists can see construction of the twin bridges over Elm Rock Road. As well, workers are finishing up paving on the new Ohio 78 and installation of various wildlife culverts which are used to allow wildlife to safely travel from one side of the highway to the other.
Phase III will begin near Doanville and focus on constructing 3.87 miles of four-lane highway. Also included in Phase three is the construction of the US 33 / SR 78 / SR 691 interchange. The project will reroute SR 78 1.63 miles through the Happy Hollow Area to form the interchange.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is investing up to $150 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for immediate construction of the final two phases.