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Congressman Johnson checks out Belmont County construction project with ODOT

Thursday morning, Congressman Bill Johnson hit the road in Belmont County to check out a major road construction project.

Thursday morning, Congressman Bill Johnson hit the road in Belmont County to check out a major road construction project.

With construction at the 331 Interchange nearing its completion, Johnson took some time to check out the progress and also talk infrastructure with some Ohio Department of Transportation officials.

"Infrastructure is a topic of conversation everywhere I go in eastern and southeastern Ohio,” he said. “Our roads and bridges are in much-needed state of repair.”

Nobody likes bumpy roads and nobody likes sitting in traffic. Those were two of the big reasons ODOT started work on 331 two years ago.

Now, as the project hits the home stretch, officials can already see how much congestion has dropped.

"One of the main reasons for this project was to alleviate congestion on the I-70 westbound off ramp. It's successful, we've done that so far,” said Project Engineer Cody Rouse.

"The project is really going to reduce congestion in the area,” said ODOT District 11 Deputy Director Roxanne Kane. “We've had congestion here for many years. So, you'll be able to get around a lot better on 331.”

Getting the roads in top shape isn't just important for the people who already live there, it's important for the ones who may come, too.

With the possibility of the ethane cracker plant in Dilles Bottom, roads need to be easy to navigate and not backed up.

"Well that's one reason why they're looking at places like Belmont County to put a facility like that, because of our transportation network,” Johnson said. “The highways, the river, the rail, you name it. So, infrastructure is very important here to the hardworking people of eastern and southeastern Ohio.”

Johnson said he makes trips like these so he can see exactly what different places need and then can push for more federal funds to make even more improvements.

"Part of my job is to advocate,” he said. “Once we get the funding at the federal level, to then advocate to the state.”

Officials said they hope to have this project fully completed by mid-August.

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