Going back to the construction drawing board and working with their contractors, Ohio Department of Transportation officials will attempt to keep U.S. Route 50 in Ross County open to traffic for the remainder of a landslide remediation project that will resume next week.

“Since the inception of the project, it has been our intent to keep U.S. 50 open, and we have worked to avoid closing it if at all possible. Therefore, we’re going to attempt to keep the route open to one lane and maintain traffic while construction is under way,” said ODOT District 9 Deputy Director Vaughn Wilson.

In order to do this, though, U.S. 50 will be closed for seven days beginning Monday, September 18, for contractors to construct a temporary road along the hillside, reconstructing the existing pavement by installing pads and driving sheeting.

Once this is complete, the contractors will begin installing drilled shafts for the new retaining wall, working 10-hour days, seven days a week. During this phase of the project, U.S. 50 will be open to one lane and traffic will be maintained with signals. However, the route may be closed intermittently during operations to maneuver the 90-foot beams over the roadway; the intermittent periods of short-term closure will result in delays of 15 to 20 minutes while traffic is stopped and held.

The original landslide project, which calls for reconstructing U.S. 50 just west of Township Road 150 (California Hollow Road) and three miles east of Bainbridge, has been on hold since early June after encountering a series of setbacks and the project had to be redesigned. Although contractors have completed portions of the original project through the 0.13-mile work zone, the redesign now includes building an additional, 128-foot drilled shaft retaining wall at the west end of the construction zone with 32, 90-foot beams.

“Although we are taking measures to keep the road open to one lane, we will enact a full closure of the route in the event that the pavement becomes further compromised or fails,” added Wilson.

Wilson also noted that it may be necessary to close U.S. 50 again once the drilled shafts are installed in order to complete pavement reconstruction. A schedule to complete the entire project will be contingent upon many construction variables, as well as the weather, and further delays could result in a time extension into 2018.

During periods of a full closure, traffic will be detoured by way of S.R. 41 at Bainbridge and S.R. 28 at Slate Mills. Motorists using any local roads are urged to use additional caution, reduce their speed and allow additional travel time.