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Indiana Department of Transportation

U.S. 24 Fort to Port > Project Overview Project Overview

United States Route 24 (U.S. 24) is a major east-west transportation corridor through the Midwestern United States, linking Michigan and Colorado. The eastern portion of the corridor traverses northern Indiana and northwestern Ohio, and provides the most direct access between Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Toledo, Ohio. U.S. 24 also provides direct connections to Interstate 69/I-469, I-80/I-90 and I-75, enabling the motoring public to reach destinations northward into the Great Lakes region and Canada as well as other large cities on the eastern seaboard. As a result of the direct linkage between the Fort Wayne, Indiana, region and the Port of Toledo, U.S. 24 has been nicknamed “Fort to Port.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is working to improve U.S. 24 in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. The focus of this work is the approximately 40-mile segment of U.S. 24 between New Haven, Indiana, and Defiance, Ohio. Of this segment, 11.2 miles is located in Indiana, between New Haven and the Indiana-Ohio state line.

The Indiana portion of this project officially opened to traffic on November 14, 2012

The Indiana portion of this project was divided into five phases, totaling 11.2 miles of work:

Phase Project Limits Project Length (miles) Construction Start Construction End Open to Traffic
1 0.5 mile E of I-469 to 0.5 mile E of Bruick Road 2.5 2010 2012 2012
2 0.5 mile E of Bruick Road to 0.65 mile E of Webster Road 2.2 2010 2011 2012
3 0.65 mile E of Webster Road to 0.5 mile W of State Road 101 3.6 2009 2010 2012
4 0.5 mile W of SR 101 to Ohio state line 2.9 2008 2009 2009
4A New interchange construction 0 2008 2009 2009

Existing Conditions

As a segment of the major east-west transportation corridor between Colorado and Michigan, old U.S. 24 between Fort Wayne and Defiance experienced substantial traffic growth over the past several years, at a rate higher than normal for northwest Ohio and eastern Indiana. The major factors contributing to this growth include increased population, developing industry, and a greater reliance on intermodal transportation connections with the regional and national rail systems and the water-based shipping at the Port of Toledo.

The old U.S. 24 is identified as a macro corridor in the Access Ohio plan. Macro corridors are defined by ODOT as corridors of statewide important upon which rests the economic vitality of Ohio. The U.S. 24 corridor’s importance was also nationally recognized when the highway was identified as one of the 21 High Priority Corridors as part of the National Highway System (NHS) in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.

The 64.5 kilometer (40-mile) segment of old U.S. 24 between New Haven and Defiance is a two-lane rural, winding arterial roadway as it follows the Maumee River. Frequent driveway cuts or access points for local residents, businesses and other local roadway crossings are common. Sporadic development is directly adjacent to the roadway. The roadway has narrow, often discontinuous shoulders and numerous no-passing zones. The frequency of no passing zones severely limits the flow of traffic and the capacity of the roadway.

Approximately 45 percent of the overall traffic on old U.S. 24 is trucks, and along some roadway segments, truck traffic is more than half of the total traffic. The high volume of trucks often results in platoons of trucks, three or more, making passing difficult and dangerous.

The existing U.S. 24 does not meet current design criteria for travel lane widths, provision of shoulders, roadway curvature, sight distance, and travel speed. These characteristics contributed to increasing travel time delays, and a declining level of service along the roadway. The level of services (LOS) provided by U.S. 24 in 2008 under the No Build Scenario contained in the Final Environmental Impact Statement is a LOS E. This indicated the two-lane roadway did not have adequate capacity to meeting anticipated future travel demand. If improvements were not made to U.S. 24, the problems experienced on the highway would only worsen.

The accident data for old U.S. 24 between New Haven and Defiance do not identify any intersections or roadway segments that qualify as high accident locations according to ODOT criteria. However, the severity of the accidents is an issue of concern. In examining specific statistics of accidents over a three year period, 60 percent of the total accidents involved heavy trucks and approximately 30 percent results in injuries or fatalities, including a collision between a car and a public bus that killed three people and injured nine. Many more accidents have been avoided due to a concentrated effort by various policing agencies to enforce posted speed limits, combined with local users exercising extra caution. Additionally, school systems that previously included U.S. 24 as part of the bus routes searched for different alternatives to avoid heavy traffic volumes and numerous near collisions.

In summary, old U.S. 24 is a two-lane road that suffers from congestion and safety-related issues as a result of inadequate capacity to accommodate current traffic demand. The operational deficiencies of U.S. 24 are due to a combination of the following factors:

  • Its design features include unlimited access, minimal shoulder widths, and a curvilinear alignment requiring multiple speed reductions and limited passing opportunities.
  • Its location attracts high speed through traffic by providing direct access between Detroit, Ontario, and Indianapolis, while at the same time serving as the primary local access through the center of many small towns.
  • The number and diversity of its users, ranging from school buses to a vehicle mix with about 45 percent heavy trucks.

Purpose & Need

For U.S. 24 to continue to support the growing transportation demands placed upon it, the roadway needed improvements that would address the goals of the purpose and need. ODOT and INDOT, in cooperation with FHWA, improved the operational characteristics of U.S. 24 for both local and through traffic in the Fort to Port area. The purposed of this major transportation project was to:

  • Improve traffic flow and the level of service
  • Reduce travel times between project termini
  • Improve roadway safety
  • Enhance the regional transportation network, and
  • Accommodate future economic growth in the region to enhance the competitiveness of local and regional businesses.

Project Schedule

INDOT began right-of-way acquisition in 2007 and construction in 2008. In order to maintain the project schedule, some design tasks ran concurrently with environmental studies. The approach increased the quality of data used for determining impacts as well as compressed the development schedule.

Below are key highlights of the U.S. 24 Fort to Port project and project schedule:

  • The Fort to Port project in Indiana was divided into five phases (Phases 1, 2, 3, 4, and 4A).
  • The first segment constructed (Phase 4)consisted of two contracts:
    • Construction of a new, four-lane highway from the Ohio line to a half mile east of Indiana SR 101. Construction began in May 2008 and completed in October 2009 (Phase 4).
    • Construction of an interchange at Indiana SR 101 and new US 24 which began in October 2008 and was completed in October 2009 (Phase 4A).
  • The second segment (Phase 3), from a half mile east of Webster Road to a half mile west of Indiana SR 101, began in May of 2009 and was completed in fall 2010.
  • The final segments, from east of Bruick Road to east of Webster Road (Phase 2), and from east of I-469 to east of Bruick Road (Phase 1), were placed out for contract bid in February and August of 2010, respectively, were successfully bid and awarded, and will be complete by December 2012.
  • Indiana  spent to date approximately $110 million on its portion of the U.S. 24 Fort to Port projects (including construction, development costs and right of way).