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ODOT works toward tougher penalties on contractors who cause traffic trouble

Posted at 11:31 PM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-20 15:41:39-04

The Ohio Department of Transportation District 12 is looking to increase penalties on contractors who violate contracts with unauthorized lane closures that cause traffic tie-ups.

ODOT told News 5 it responded after it discovered  Kokosing Construction Company failed to abide by the contract requirement to have lanes open on I-480, east near Granger Rd., by 6 a.m on Oct. 17.

ODOT said it will be assessing a fine of approximately $12,800 for the violation and is looking into its contract with the company, and its ability to assess additional, more significant fines for the incident.

ODOT said it fined another company for lane closure contract violations in September and August.

But some northeast Ohio drivers, like Chris Romano of Seven Hills, who contacted News 5, believe harsher penalties are needed.

Romano said ODOT shouldn't issue any new contracts to construction companies who have multiple lane closure violations.

"I'm so fed up with this traffic, and it's making everyone late, but it's also a safety concern," Romano said.

"A lot of accidents are happening because of the confusion."

These $12,000 to $10,000 fines are nothing compared to coming in early on the bonus they receive, and they miss manage it," he said.

ODOT said it would take further steps, and issued the following statement in response to our story:

"In order to ensure construction companies are not making these business decisions at the expense of the time and safety of the traveling public, ODOT is rolling out statewide contract standards with stiffer disincentives for contractors who keep travel lanes closed longer than allowed.
The disincentive formula, which will be applied statewide and written into new contracts moving forward, will calculate fees for each stretch of highway under construction based on the route’s traffic volume (both passenger vehicles and trucks) and the number of lanes in each direction.  

Higher-volume routes, such as urban interstates, will carry higher disincentives in order to ensure construction companies are not creating countless hours of travel delay in order to save money on projects. The formula will be adjusted regularly for inflation."