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Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire from NASCAR following 2017

Interstate improvement projects get funding

An Interstate 70 widening project in Clark County that will begin construction next year has been funded with $16.5 million following a vote Thursday by the state’s Transportation Review Advisory Council.

It’s among other local projects that received final funding approval as part of a new highway financing plan by Gov. John Kasich’s administration that should help fund highway projects threatened with lengthy delays.

The administration said the governor’s Jobs and Transportation Plan will create 60,000 new jobs and help grow Ohio’s economy with a $3 billion investment in infrastructure over six years.

The $19.1 million project, which has additional funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation, will widen I-70 to three lanes in both directions between Enon and U.S. 68, a stretch that measures about four miles. The widening is expected to take about two years. When done, the only remaining four-lane stretch of I-70 in Clark County would be the roughly 3.5 miles between U.S. 68 to Ohio 72.

Other Dayton-Springfield area projects that received funding include $600,000 for preliminary engineering studies for a CSX railroad extension to Dayton International Airport. The studies will get funding in 2014.

Also approved was $2.1 million for land acquisition in 2015 for upgrading an interchange in Warren County at Interstate 71 and Western Row Road.

About $1.5 billion of the $3 billion will come from bonds underwritten by future increased tolls paid by drivers on the Ohio Turnpike. Under the state law that approved the turnpike borrowing, 90 percent of the money must be spent within 75 miles of the turnpike corridor. But the turnpike money frees up funding for other projects. Without the new money, the Clark County I-70 widening would have been delayed until 2027, ODOT has said.

ODOT said many of the projects were previously delayed by 10 years or more and now some may start as soon as this fall.

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