The city of Hillsboro will receive $336,000 from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for traffic safety improvements throughout the city’s historic district.
Hillsboro Economic Development Coordinator Lauren Walker applied for the grant for the city through ODOT.
The project is part of $51 million in funding from the state of Ohio to specifically address an increase in the pedestrian-involved traffic crashes and fatal roadway departures on state and local roads. The money is being distributed among 44 roadway safety projects in 32 counties.
“Being proactive in citizen and pedestrian safety is definitely a priority for the city,” said Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Brianne Abbott. “We applied for a specific project, and the scope of that project includes improvements to the historic district that will create new high-visibility crosswalks. We’ll have pavement markings, refuge islands, and pedestrian beacons installed. It will be the same project at all of the mid-range crosswalks.”
As there is not a current timeline established for the project, it is uncertain if it will involve road closures.
Nearly $30 million, or 58 percent, is being awarded to local governments in Ohio with the remaining amount being used for projects on ODOT-maintained roads and highways.
According to ODOT, fatal crashes involving pedestrians and roadway departures both hit their highest levels in 2021 when compared to the previous decade.
“This is a serious problem, and we certainly believe that distracted driving is contributing to this alarming increase in pedestrian-involved and roadway departure crashes,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. “The funding we’re awarding today, most of which is going to local governments, will be used to make the physical changes needed to help prevent crashes, but a cultural change around distracted driving is needed as well. I continue to encourage members of the Ohio General Assembly to pass legislation to put more restrictions around mobile device usage while driving to make it clear that distracted driving won’t be tolerated in Ohio.”
Funding for all of the projects is awarded through ODOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program which, under the DeWine-Husted Administration, has grown to become one of the largest traffic safety programs in the country. The program invests $148 million annually into safety projects, education and training to make transportation in Ohio safer.
“Governor DeWine has always challenged us to be bold and creative as we work to address the rise in traffic-related fatalities,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “I believe this is both. A goal we share with our partners in local government is significantly reducing deaths on Ohio roads, so we must work together to get there.”
Of the total funds, ODOT will invest $25.6 million into roadway-departure prevention projects such as widening roadway shoulders, installing center and edge-line rumble strips, and modifying ditches and culverts.
Incidents of drivers leaving the travel lane and sideswiping another vehicle, hitting an oncoming vehicle, or colliding with an object on the side of the road typically cause more than half of all traffic deaths and nearly half of all serious traffic injuries in Ohio each year. In 2021, 703 people were killed and 3,390 people were seriously hurt in roadway departure crashes.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.