Our state is home to major highways that transport people and goods all across the country. According to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Ohio has the fifth largest interstate system. With 8,000 lane miles, our state has enough interstate to travel from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. about 3 times.
This intricate infrastructure impacts every major city and small town within our borders as well as every visitor and passer-by. And, given that Ohio is just a day’s drive to more than 60% of the U.S. and Canadian populations, our highways need to be well taken care of. Without the great work of our construction crews, Ohio’s highways would have more accidents and would lead to greater wear on our vehicles.
One Ohio-based organization, Gerken Paving, Inc. of the Gerken Companies, is responsible for keeping many of our highways running smoothly. Headquartered in the northwestern city of Bluffton, Gerken Paving plays a critical role in our state’s progress. Their home region of Northwest Ohio is an important connector to our neighboring states and nearby cities. This part of our state is a central hub for importing important goods to and from our state. Some of Gerken Paving’s most recent asphalt paving projects include:
- ODOT Erie Co. US 250
- Lucas Co. Roundabout
- MDOT M-49 Resurfacing (2016 Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan Award winner)
- Ohio Turnpike Resurfacing 2016 (Delta Ohio – Flexible Pavements of Ohio and National Asphalt Pavement Award winner)
The Ohio Turnpike project is arguably the most impactful of the above. This is the largest subcontract project for the Gerken Companies and is the single biggest project they’ve ever taken on. Their efforts led them to receive the National Asphalt Pavement Award given by The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA). NAPA seeks to “encourage, support and recognize excellence in the asphalt industry” and “help asphalt mix producers and paving companies improve operations and safety as well as recognize employees and partners for quality work.”
This major project resurfaced one of the most important roads in our state. The Ohio Turnpike is an incredible 241 miles long. It runs East and West across Ohio’s northern corridor, connecting directly to Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Consistent repairs to the Ohio Turnpike allows traffic to flow jam-free all day, every day. But since it’s always open, there is constantly ongoing traffic even as repairs are being made. Given the heavy traffic, Gerken Paving took the time to improve jobsite safety while resurfacing the road.
To decrease the risk that comes with many cars passing by the jobsite, Gerken Paving completed much of the work at night when traffic was lightest. They illuminated the work zone with overhead lighting and provided individual lights on workers’ hard hats to work in the dark of night.
Not only was the jobsite safer with fewer drivers driving by, it was also cooler for the crew. Night work is especially beneficial in the hot summer months as working on asphalt in the hot sun increases air temperature dramatically.
The next time you drive on the Ohio Turnpike, think about what went in to make it a smooth ride for you. And, if you pass by an active jobsite, remember that your driving impacts jobsite safety.
If you are interested in helping to pave the way for our state, check out the current job openings at the Gerken Companies here.