COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Transportation announced a $54 million investment on Friday for traffic safety projects in 30 counties after an increase in deadly traffic crashes.

The dozens of transportation safety projects aim to reduce the risk of pedestrian-involved crashes and roadway departure accidents. A total of 176 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2021, compared to 88 in 2013. Pedestrian deaths decreased only slightly in 2022 to 165 fatalities. Roadway departure crashes killed 703 people in Ohio in 2021 and 688 in 2022, compared to 576 in 2013. 

“With Ohio’s new distracted driving law, we’re beginning to see drivers’ focus return to the roads, but we must also ensure that the roads themselves are structurally safe as well,” said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. “The infrastructure projects we’re funding today will be designed to help prevent deadly crashes.”

Earlier this year, DeWine signed Ohio’s distracted driving law in January, making distracted driving an individual offense. Under the new law, actively texting, scrolling on social media, or watching a video while driving a car could earn someone a ticket, and up to a $500 fine.

The construction projects will include the installation of high-visibility crossings, advanced yield markings, improved lighting, and new traffic calming mechanisms, such as speedbumps. Pedestrian-activated signals near schools will also be installed.

To combat roadway departure crashes, safety projects will widen shoulders, flatten slopes, remove deep ditches, and install rumble stripes, especially on high-speed rural roads.

Infrastructure projects coming to central Ohio include:

  • $238,050 toward S.R. 329 and S.R. 550 in Athens County.
  • $1,200,000 toward Refugee Road in Fairfield County.
  • $1,511,134 toward various projects in Franklin County.
  • $500,000 toward S.R. 750, Verona Drive and other locations in Delaware County.
  • $370,000 toward roadway departure in Guernsey, Licking and Muskingum counties.
  • $1,000,000 toward pedestrian infrastructure in Hardin County.
  • $1,505,500 toward roadway departure in Hocking County.
  • $1,323,000 toward roadway departure in Perry County.