September 28, 2020
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ODOT's I-670 SmartLane Project up for Two America's Transportation Awards

The I-670 SmartLane Project in Columbus has been selected as a national finalist in the 2020 America’s Transportation Awards competition. Out of 79 project submissions, the SmartLane advanced to the ‘Top 12’ projects in the country, making it eligible for both the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award.

During peak hours, a major stretch of I-670 (from downtown Columbus to its east side) consistently held drivers up in traffic, with average speeds of 22 mph and a commute time ranging between 5 minutes and 30 minutes. This heavy congestion and lack of reliability was very frustrating to drivers, especially since additional capacity was only deemed by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for three hours each day. To address this, ODOT awarded a project to OCA member Complete General Construction Co. to complete the $60 million I-670 SmartLane project (the first of its kind in the state), which focused on the groundbreaking application of technology that included full-color digital signs, cameras, and radar detectors that collected data on traffic speed and density. These all culminated in ODOT’s ability to open the left shoulder as an extra eastbound lane during peak travel times or other times of heavy congestion. When not needed for traffic flow, the SmartLane closes for use by law enforcement, emergency responders, and maintenance crews. ODOT also now has the ability to vary the speed limit based on congestion, allowing the department to manage traffic, not just monitor it.

Here’s where you come in – while a panel of judges will select the Grand Prize winner, the People’s Choice Award will be decided through online voting. Voting is live at AmericasTransportationAwards.org and individuals can cast one vote per day through October 25, 2020. Both prizes come with a $10,000 cash award for a non-profit of the winner’s choosing, and ODOT/DriveOhio is partnering with COSI to receive any prize money if selected. The funds will be utilized to support the COSI on Wheels: Curbside Edition program. This initiative delivers free STEM resources to under-served youth, while also helping to bridge the digital divide during this unprecedented time.

Vote for the I-670 SmartLane project:
https://transportationawards.secure-platform.com/a/gallery/rounds/23/details/2658
                                         


News
BWC Board Approves $1.5 Billion for Ohio Employers

2nd Dividend this Year to Ease COVID-19 Financial Impact

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Board of Directors on Friday approved Governor Mike DeWine’s proposal to send Ohio employers up to $1.5 billion in dividends to ease the impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s economy and business community.

BWC will start sending checks to up to 200,000 private and public employers in its system in late October after first applying the dividend to any unpaid balances. The dividend follows a similar dividend in April, where the average check size was $8,500.

“Thank you to the BWC Board of Directors for approving a second round of dividends for Ohio employers,” said Governor DeWine. “The pandemic continues to impact businesses across Ohio, and we hope that this next round of dividends provides financial relief.”

The dividend equals 100% of the premium employers paid in policy year 2019. As in prior years, the dividend is possible because of strong investment returns on employer premiums, a declining number of claims each year, and prudent fiscal management.

“We’re grateful our strong fiscal position allows us to assist our business community during these unprecedented times,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “However, this means in all likelihood we will not issue a dividend in 2021.”

Of BWC’s $1.54 billion dividend in April, $1.35 billion went to private employers and $184 million went to local government taxing districts, such as counties, cities, townships, and school districts.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about the dividend.

BWC provides workers’ compensation insurance to 249,000 private and public employers in Ohio. Despite COVID-19’s impact, the agency’s investment returns remain strong. BWC earned $279 million in returns in August and had a net position (assets minus liabilities) of $12.7 billion as of Aug. 31. BWC is funded by employer premiums.

For more on COVID-19 as it relates to BWC, visit this Frequently Asked Questions page.

For other questions about COVID-19 related to BWC, email BWCCOVID19@bwc.state.oh.us.

For the latest on COVID-19, visit the Ohio Department of Health website coronavirus.ohio.gov, or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).


The Economic Impact of Construction in the United States and Ohio

Click here for a good summary provided by AGC of the economic impact of construction in the United States and Ohio.

ODOT Teaming up with Ohio State Highway Patrol on Work Zone Safety

OSHP will watch for traffic violations from the air

With more than 6,500 work zone crashes in Ohio last year and increasing numbers this year, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is collaborating with the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) to make work zones safer.

Enforcing traffic laws from the ground can be a challenge inside work zones, so State Troopers will be taking to the sky. ODOT and the OSHP Aviation Section have identified nearly a dozen locations where troopers will target crash-causing violations like speed, following too close, and failure to move over. These locations were selected due to a history of crashes, higher speeds and the type of barrier used to separate traffic from workers.

“This year, we have seen an alarming spike in crashes on our roadways and construction zones,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “It’s important that we implement partnerships and technology like this to decrease roadway crashes, ensuring both motorists and construction employees make it home safely.”

There were 6,553 work zone-related crashes in Ohio last year. As of September 21, there have been 3,145 work zone-related crashes in Ohio in 2020.

“Driving requires your full attention, especially in work zones. All the safety measures we put into place don’t matter if drivers never see them because their attention is elsewhere,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.

OSHP routinely enforces speed violations from the air across the state. Speed is measured by a pilot who times how long it takes a vehicle to pass between a series of lines painted on the roadway. The violation time and speed information is then relayed to a trooper on the ground who makes the traffic stop.

“Work zone crashes are preventable if drivers slow down, increase following distance, and most importantly pay attention,” said Colonel Richard Fambro, Superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “We continue to support work zone safety and make our presence known in an effort to provide a safe environment for our roadway workers.” Signs posted along the highway will alert drivers about the increased enforcement efforts. The pilot project will be evaluated and based on results could be expanded next year.

Video of aerial enforcement and roadway markings are available for download by clicking here.


OCA: Building Construction Careers Employer Profile

With students returning to school, OCA is once again working to engage potential future workers.

As we communicate the opportunities available to them, we also need to have a ready resource to connect students to possible future employers – YOU!

We are preparing to launch an OCA: BUILDING CONSTRUCTION CAREERS Employer Profile page on our website. This page will serve as a link for prospective employees who are considering careers in our industry to find and connect with OCA member firms who welcome inquiries.

The page will be an alphabetical listing of companies who choose to participate. When a company name is selected, very basic employment-specific information – information provided by the company – will appear about the firm.

To make sure your company is included, click here for a fillable PDF for you, or your HR department, to complete and return to lpomeroy@ohiocontractors.org If you prefer to provide your information over the phone, contact Lynda Pomeroy at 614-488-2558!

OCA and Laborers’ District Council of Ohio invite Central Ohio Contractors to Oct. 13 Virtual Workforce Program

The Ohio Contractors Association and the Laborers' District Council of Ohio would like to invite Central Ohio Chapter Contractors to a unique webinar, scheduled for October 13th at 9:00 a.m.

During the hour-long webinar, contractors will receive vital information to enable your business to win more projects.

Here's what you can expect to learn from this session:

     • Laborers' Health & Safety Fund • Fair Contracting staff
     • Apprenticeship standards and recruitment
     • Training and upgrading opportunities
     • Health and Pension benefits available

Click here for a program flyer and registration link. Please contact Vince Irvin at 740-504-2707 with any questions about the virtual program.


Hall of Fame Nominations and Distinguished Service Award Nominations

In recognition of outstanding service within the heavy/highway industry and our association, nominations are being accepted for the following professionals:

     • Hall of Fame (contractor members)
     • Distinguished Service Award (associate members)

Requests for nominations are solicited through chapter meetings and newsletters. Nominated candidates must meet the following requirements before being listed for election:

a) Must have 20 years of service to the construction industry.
b) Active with OCA at least 15 years, serving at least 15 years on: OCA’s statewide committees (contractor members) or any OCA committee (associate members)
c) Candidates should have contributed significantly toward the stated goals and purposes of the Ohio Contractors Association.

Candidates must be nominated by an OCA member. No more than two may be elected to the Hall of Fame and one elected for the Distinguished Service Award each year. A secret ballot will be used to select nominees. Awards will be presented during the virtual OCA Winter Conference. Deadline for nomination is October 16, 2020.

Please submit your nomination to David Rule at drule@ohiocontractors.org.

Top Gun Construction Claims Seminar

Bricker & Eckler is proud to present its 18th annual “Top Gun Construction Claims Seminar.” Starting October 1 and concluding November 19, this free series of eight webinars will cover important construction concepts, key contract language, best practices for project documentation, the risks of unforeseen site conditions, delays and lost productivity claims, and the design professional's standard of care; strategies to address damage and claims; tools to analyze, prepare for, and defend against claims for additional compensation or damages; and options to manage and resolve construction claims efficiently. Register for one or all of the webinars today!

Worksite Traffic Supervisor (WTS) Prequalification Testing

On behalf of ODOT’s Division of Construction Management and Office of Roadway Engineering, the following additional sessions of Worksite Traffic Supervisor (WTS) Prequalification Testing are now open for registration:

• October 6 – Morning » Click here to register.
• October 6 – Afternoon » Click here to register.
• October 13 – Morning » Click here to register.
• October 13 – Afternoon » Click here to register.

Click here to access the PDF flyer with recent updates.

Prerequisites – Do not register for WTS Prequalification testing until the prerequisites have been completed. Please see the online registration form and flyer for details.

Pre-registration is required for WTS Testing. Due to social distancing requirements per COVID-19, seating capacity is limited for each session. Please review the important updates and new safety protocols as described per the links above.
    

Quick Links to On-line OCA Resources

•   Current Ohio Contractor Magazine
•   Safety Resources
•   Labor & Employment Information
•   OCA President's Commentary
 



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