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April 1, 2023 4:15 am

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ODOT: Don’t move or drive around barricades

LIMA The area is still dealing with high water which closed several area highways this week, including Interstate 75 in Allen County.

Now, as Tropical Depression Bill approaches this weekend, the Ohio Department of Transportation and local law enforcement are issuing a warning: do not move or drive around barricades placed on highways.

“We have seen several instances of motorists moving barricades in order to drive around them. What they may not realize is the barricade is the law and those who drive upon a closed road are subject to arrest or fine,” said Kirk Slusher, Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 deputy director.

ODOT officials have observed barricades being moved and then left out of place. “Drivers may interpret a displaced barricade as an indication that the roadway is opened which creates a dangerous scenario where motorists could unknowingly drive into high water,” said Slusher.

In addition, highways which no longer have water across them but remain barricaded are closed for good reason. Highways often remain closed where water has reached the bottom of a bridge structure. Each structure where this occurs is inspected by a licensed engineer before the roadway is reopened. “It can take days to complete these inspections depending on the number of structures involved,” he said.

With the anticipated rainfall and subsequent road closures which are expected this weekend, ODOT and law enforcement are planning to coordinate their efforts to ensure public safety. “There’s more than one way to reach a destination. Make sure you choose the safe and lawful way,” said Slusher.

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