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The Ohio Turnpike (officially the James W. Shocknessy Ohio Turnpike) is a -long, limited-access toll highway in the U.S. state of Ohiomarker, serving as a primary corridor to Chicagomarker and Pittsburghmarker. The road runs east-west in the northern section of the state, from the Indiana Toll Road (at the Indianamarker-Ohio border near Bryanmarker) to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (at the Ohio-Pennsylvaniamarker border near Petersburg).

Built from 1949 to 1955, construction for the roadway was completed a year prior to the Interstate Highway System. The modern Ohio Turnpike is signed as three interstate numbers: I-76, I-80, and I-90.

The road is owned and maintained by the Ohio Turnpike Commission, headquartered in Bereamarker.


The westbound Ohio Turnpike

The Ohio General Assembly authorized the formation of the Ohio Turnpike Commission in 1949. The turnpike is named after the first chairman of the commission, James W. Shocknessy. Construction for the road cost $326 million and was recorded the biggest project in state history, with 10,000 employees, more than 2,300 bulldozers, graders, loaders and other machines over a 38-month period.

On December 1, 1954, the first stretch (the portion lying east of State Route 18) opened near the present-day exit 218 for I-76 and I-80. Several motorists attended a dedication ceremony, with over 1,000 people joining a caravan, following a snow plow and a patrol cruiser, to become the first to drive the turnpike. The remaining section from exit 218 west to Indiana opened October 1, 1955.

Originally, the turnpike offered 17 access points. Additional access points have since been provided, bringing the total number to 31.

In 1996, the turnpike began a project to add a lane in each direction from Toledo to Youngstown. The project, using financing from increased tolls, was originally projected to be finished in 2005, but in 2009 there were still short stretches without the added lanes – one at the west end of the project in Lucasmarker and Woodmarker Counties, and the other in Summit Countymarker at Exit 180 (State Route 8); those stretches are expected to be finished in 2011.

In 1998, the Ohio Turnpike Commission began phasing in distance-based exit numbers. The sequential numbering system was retired in September 2002.

Service plazas

Typical modernized service plaza
Last of the service plazas of the prior design
The Ohio Turnpike has had service plazas since its inception. Service plazas differ from typical freeway rest areas in that they offer amenities such as 24-hour food and fuel service, which means motorists do not have to pay the toll to exit, then re-enter when they have to re-fuel, use the restroom, or stop to eat.

In 1998, The Ohio Turnpike Commission began modernizing its service plazas, first demolishing the original plazas and then reconstructing them from the ground-up. In addition to modern restrooms, the new plazas offer several fast food choices, which vary between the plazas. They also include ATMs, gift shops, travel information counters, Wi-Fi internet access, and facilities for truck drivers, including shower facilities, lounge, and laundry areas. A fueling station provided by Valero is provided at each plaza. Facilities for overnight RV campers are provided at the service plazas located at mile markers 76, 139, and 197.

Service plazas are located in pairs (one for each side of the turnpike) near mile markers 49, 76, 100, 139, 170, 197, and 237. Presently, the service plazas located at mile markers 49 and 237 have not been modernized, and utilize the original buildings that opened with the turnpike in the 1950s, with later additions.

The service plazas located in Lucas Countymarker west of Toledomarker at mile marker 49 are the least utilized. The Ohio Turnpike Commission envisions the eventual demolition of these service plazas, and construction of new plazas between mile markers 20 and 49; the new facility will most likely be located in Fulton Countymarker and is expected to open after 2012.

Due to the lack of a municipal water/sewer system, the service plazas located near mile marker 20 in Williams Countymarker were demolished in 2006, though the Turnpike Commission expects to have new plazas at that location by 2010.

The plazas at mile 237 are expected to be rebuilt in 2012.

Law enforcement

Since the turnpike opened, the Ohio Turnpike Commission has contracted with the Ohio State Highway Patrol (District 10) to provide law enforcement, as well as assistance to disabled or stranded motorists. The Patrol is the only law enforcement agency with jurisdiction on the turnpike. It monitors Citizen's Band channel 9 for distress calls.

Truck speed limit

In September 2004, the speed limit for heavy trucks was raised to 65 mph (105 km/h), creating a uniform speed limit for all traffic. For years, trucks had avoided the turnpike due to large toll increases in the 1990s, and because they could travel for free at the same speed on parallel highways such as State Route 2 and US 20. Truck traffic clogged the downtown shopping areas of US 20 towns such as Bellevuemarker and Clydemarker, essentially driving away customers who didn't want to deal with the truck traffic; shopkeepers begged the state for relief for years.

Eventually, after prodding by Governor Bob Taft, the Ohio Turnpike Commission lowered truck tolls and implemented the uniform speed limit on September 8, 2004. Truck traffic levels on the turnpike are estimated to be 20% higher since the change was made. The turnpike's truck speed limit was unique in Ohio, as a statutory speed limit applied to trucks on every other highway in the state until the passage of House Bill Number 2 in 2009.

Proposed leasing

Ken Blackwell, the defeated candidate in the 2006 Ohio governor's race, had announced a plan for privatizing the turnpike, similar to plans enacted in Illinoismarker and Indiana.

Toll structure

Standard Ohio Turnpike ticket, in this case for a Class 1 vehicle (two-axle car without trailer) entering at Exit 218
Tolls are based upon the distance traveled, as well as the type and weight of vehicle driven. , the toll for a typical non-commercial passenger vehicle to travel the entire turnpike is $10.25.

The Ohio Turnpike Commission had been hesitant to deploy an electronic tolling system, citing an apparent lack of commuter travel as well as significant implementation expenses. In December 2006, the commission indicated their intention to move forward with the implementation of an E-ZPass-compatible system as a "customer convenience". The system was activated on October 1, 2009.

In 2009, the turnpike became the first publicly-owned toll facility in the U.S. – and the second overall – to allow users to pay tolls with a debit or credit card.

Toll funds diversion

In April 2008, governor Ted Strickland and legislative leaders announced a planned stimulus package that would redistribute Turnpike tolls to road projects throughout the state. On May 23, the Ohio Senate Finance Committee voted to pass a new version of the package which would not involve tolls collected.

Exit list

County Location Old New Destinations Notes
I-80 and I-90 continue into Indianamarker as the Indiana Toll Road
Williamsmarker Northwest Twp.marker 1 SR 49 Diamond interchange with no ramp tolls. Motorists entering the Turnpike eastbound will immediately stop at the Westgate barrier. Those entering westbound will travel toll-free to the Indiana state line, then obtain a toll ticket at the Indiana Toll Road Eastpoint barrier.
Northwest Twp.marker 1A 2 Westgate Toll Barrier Prior to completion of the Indiana Toll Road, turnpike traffic emptied onto US 20 via a short access road just west of the original toll barrier, which was closer to the state line than the current barrier. This access road is still visible.
Jefferson Twp. 2 13 SR 15 - Bryanmarker, Montpeliermarker
Fultonmarker Franklin Twp. 2A 25 SR 66 - Archboldmarker, Fayettemarker Opened November 13, 1998
Dover Twp. 3 34 SR 108 - Wauseonmarker
Pike Twp. 3B 39 SR 109 - Deltamarker, Lyonsmarker opened December 20, 1996
Lucasmarker Monclova Twp.marker 3A 52 SR 2 - Toledo Airportmarker, Swantonmarker
Maumeemarker 4 59 US 20 - Maumeemarker, Toledomarker to I-475 and US 23.
Woodmarker Perrysburgmarker 4A 64 I-75 - Perrysburgmarker, Toledomarker
Lake Twp. 5 71 I-280/SR 420 - Stony Ridge, Toledomarker
Ottawamarker Harris Twp.marker 5A 81 SR 51 - Elmoremarker, Woodvillemarker, Gibsonburgmarker Opened February 6, 1997
Sanduskymarker Sandusky Twp. 6 91 SR 53 - Fremontmarker, Port Clintonmarker
Eriemarker Groton Twp.marker 6A 110 SR 4 - Sanduskymarker, Bellevuemarker Opened December 15, 1994
Milan Twp.marker 7 118 US 250 - Sanduskymarker, Norwalkmarker
Lorainmarker Brownhelm Twp.marker 7A 135 Baumhart Road - Vermilionmarker Opened December 13, 1995
Amherst Twp.marker 7B 140 SR 58 - Amherstmarker, Oberlinmarker Opened November 30, 2004
Eastern terminus of I-80/ I-90 concurrency
Elyria Twp.marker 8A 142 I-90/SR 2 - Clevelandmarker, Lorain County West eastbound exit, westbound entrance.
Elyriamarker 8 145 SR 57 - Lorainmarker, Elyriamarker
North Ridgevillemarker 9A 151 I-480 - North Ridgevillemarker, Clevelandmarker eastbound exit, westbound entrance.
9 152 SR 10 - North Olmstedmarker, Clevelandmarker
Cuyahogamarker Strongsvillemarker 10 161 I-71/US 42 - Strongsvillemarker, Clevelandmarker
Summitmarker Richfieldmarker 11 173 I-77/SR 21 - Clevelandmarker direct access to I-77 opened December 3, 2001
Boston Heightsmarker 12 180 SR 8 - Akronmarker
Portagemarker Streetsboromarker 13 187 - I-480/SR 14 - Streetsboromarker
Shalersville Twp.marker 13A 193 SR 44 - Ravennamarker Opened December 1, 1994
Trumbullmarker Braceville Twp.marker 14 209 SR 5 - Warrenmarker
Lordstownmarker 14A 215 Ellsworth-Bailey Road - Lordstown Westmarker Eastbound exit, westbound entrance; opened June 1993
14B 216 Hallock-Young Road - Lordstown Eastmarker Westbound exit, eastbound entrance.
Mahoningmarker North Jacksonmarker 15 218 I-76, I-80, County Route 18 - Nilesmarker, Youngstownmarker I-76 exits westbound and enters eastbound. I-80 exits eastbound and enters westbound. Toll road transfers from I-80 to I-76.
Beaver Twp. 16B 232 SR 7 - Youngstownmarker
16A 234 I-680 - Youngstownmarker, Polandmarker westbound exit, eastbound entrance.
Springfield Twp. 16 239 Eastgate Toll Barrier
I-76 continues east into Pennsylvaniamarker as the Pennsylvania Turnpike

See also


  3. - Williams County turnpike plazas will be closed
  7. Ohio turnpike – EZ-Pass FAQ
  8. DeLorme Street Atlas USA 2007. Digital map of Ohio showing the townships. Accessed on July 10, 2007.

External links

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