Wide vehicles are being allowed back on the Fort Washington Way in Cincinnati, Ohio, next week and the trucking industry couldn’t be happier.
After two years and about 5,000 citations, the highway reopens Monday morning.
Truckers have been having to avoid the 0.8-mile stretch that connects Interstates 71 and 75 or risk getting a ticket that carried maximum penalties of 30 days in jail and $500 in fines.
"I'd estimate that it cost us an extra $300 to $500 a day to avoid that short connection," said Jason Jones, dispatcher for Mason Dixon Truck Lines, in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Obviously it was a pain for us time-wise as well. We plan to get good use out of the new highway."
The Fort Washington Way has been closed to all traffic for a week in preparation for the reopening. A reconfigured Third Street, which switches direction to east-to-west, and the ramps from Columbia Parkway (U.S. 50) west to Fort Washington Way and Third Street, will also reopen.
The project is costing $314 million, with about $146 million devoted to the actual Fort Washington Way reconfiguration. Three lanes of the westbound main line connecting Interstates 71 and 75 will open, while eastbound travel will be limited to two lanes.
According to the Enquirer, officers issued about 5,000 tickets to violators of the wide-vehicle ban. The highway was shut down several times over the past two years when trucks trying to squeeze their way through resulted in accidents. The city required a mandatory court appearance for alleged violators midway through the project, and posted information about the ban at area truckstops and rest areas.