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Construction Zone Question to OH Really? Elicits Surprising Answer

A sign in the construction zone on Route 8 indicates trucks are to stay in the left lane. A listener wondered why?
A sign in the construction zone on Route 8 indicates trucks are to stay in the left lane. A listener wondered why?

It’s orange barrel season and one of our listeners asked our OH Really team an interesting question about sharing the road in construction zones.

We helped him find the answer.

On route 8 in northern Summit County, traffic has been reduced to two lanes in each direction and concrete barriers are set up as crews resurface a six mile section of the road. There are signs throughout the construction zone that illustrate listener Seth Marks’ concern.  

“Why are the instructions often--not always--that trucks have to drive in the left lane?” Marks wondered. He submitted his question to our "OH Really?" reporting effort, which encourages listeners to ask us things they're curious about. 

We sought the answer from Brent Kovacs of the Ohio Department of Transportation

"A lot of times the right lane will be on the existing shoulder or something like that where the pavement’s a little thinner. And we just need to keep the trucks on the most sturdy, the strongest pavement that we can on that construction zone,” Kovacs told Marks. "That comes as a surprise to me," Marks replied. 

Marks thought it had something to do with the draft the truck creates potentially pushing cars into the barrier. But Kovacs said speed restrictions  in construction areas reduce that concern.

Ask your OH Really? question here.

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A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.