The City of Wauseon will receive funding to help pay for improvements designed to increase pedestrian safety. It was announced last week that Wauseon will receive $168,000 for the installation of an enhanced crossing where the Wabash Cannonball Trail crosses Shoop Avenue (State Route 108).
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Dr. Jack Marchbanks announced Thursday that DOT will invest $51 million into new traffic safety improvement projects to specifically address an increase in pedestrian-involved traffic crashes and fatal roadway departures on state and local roads.
According to ODOT, fatal crashes involving pedestrians and roadway departures both hit their highest levels in 2021 when compared to the previous decade.
“This is a serious problem, and we certainly believe that distracted driving is contributing to this alarming increase in pedestrian-involved and roadway departure crashes,” said DeWine. “The funding we’re awarding today, most of which is going to local governments, will be used to make the physical changes needed to help prevent crashes, but a cultural change around distracted driving is needed as well. I continue to encourage members of the Ohio General Assembly to pass legislation to put more restrictions around mobile device usage while driving to make it clear that distracted driving won’t be tolerated in Ohio.”
The $51 million in funding will go toward 44 roadway safety projects in 32 counties. Nearly $30 million, or 58 percent, will be awarded to local governments in municipalities, townships, and counties for projects under their jurisdictions. The remaining funds will be used for projects on ODOT-maintained roads and highways.
“Governor DeWine has always challenged us to be bold and creative as we work to address the rise in traffic-related fatalities. I believe this is both. A goal we share with our partners in local government is significantly reducing deaths on Ohio roads, so we must work together to get there,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.