AP NEWS

Portsmouth bypass opens to traffic

December 15, 2018 GMT

The Herald-Dispatch

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio - After more than three years of construction, the new Portsmouth Bypass in Scioto County opened to traffic Friday morning.

The bypass, also known as Ohio 823 or the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway, now connects U.S. 23 north of Lucasville and U.S. 52 near Sciotoville.

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, Portsmouth Gateway Group crews worked through the night to uncover signs and remove the remaining traffic controls to open the route at 8 a.m. as scheduled.

The new route is a 16-mile, four-lane limited-access highway that completes Ohio’s missing link in the Appalachian Development Highway System and is expected to bring more heavy truck traffic onto U.S. 52 in Lawrence County.

On Thursday, a ribbon cutting was held at the Sunshine Church of Christ to a standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 people, according to ODOT.

ODOT awarded a contract for the $500 million project in 2014 to the Portsmouth Gateway Group, which financed the project. It was the first public-private partnership undertaken by the Ohio Department of Transportation, and construction began in mid-2015.

With the exception of snow and ice control services, which will be retained by ODOT, Portsmouth Gateway Group will be responsible for the route’s operation and maintenance for the next 35 years, according to ODOT.