The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently announced plans to invest $51 million in 44 traffic safety improvement projects in 32 counties through the Highway Safety Improvement Program.
The projects address an increase in fatal roadway departures and pedestrian-involved traffic crashes statewide. In 2021, fatal crashes involving roadway departures and pedestrians reached their highest levels compared to the last decade, according to ODOT.
Of the $51 million, nearly $30 million will be awarded to local governments for projects in their jurisdictions. The remainder will be used on ODOT-maintained roads and highways.
ODOT will invest $25.6 million on roadway-departure prevention projects, including modifying ditches and culverts, installing center and edge-line rumble strips, and widening roadway shoulders.
ODOT will invest $25.5 million in pedestrian projects such as sidewalks and high-visibility pedestrian crossings.
Last year, 3,390 people were seriously hurt and 703 people were killed in roadway departure crashes. Additionally, 176 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes, accounting for 13 percent of all traffic deaths in the state, and 530 people were seriously injured.
More than half of all traffic deaths and nearly half of all serious traffic injuries annually in the state are from hitting an oncoming vehicle, drivers leaving the lane and sideswiping another vehicle, or striking an object on the side of the road.