The Ohio Department of Transportation today, Tuesday, June 6, began installing 35 miles of fiber-optic cable underground along U.S. Route 33 to aid in the testing of smart vehicles.

The $4.8 million project, which is to run between Dublin and East Liberty, is slated to be finished by October. Most of the cost will be covered by a $15 million state investment, according to information from ODOT.

Because the project will be completed off the highway, ODOT doesn't anticipate any lane closures or restrictions, ODOT press secretary Matt Bruning said.

Ninety-four percent of all automobile crashes are the result of human error, Bruning said. One big component of smart-vehicle testing is the ability to reduce the capacity for human error. The project could be a game changer for safety and transportation across the country, Bruning said.

"Having that start here in Ohio is fantastic," he said.

The fiber installation will be completed in four phases. By mid-August, weather permitting, a minimum of 24 strands of fiber-optic cable is expected to be tested and operational. A remaining 432 strands and remaining project work will be slated for completion by October. The project also includes 250 pull boxes to house the cable throughout the corridor.

Federal funding for a smart corridor along Route 33 includes a $6 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant given to Union County and the cities of Marysville and Dublin for the smart-mobility corridor.

Bruning said the federal funds likely would go toward nonfiber-optic improvements for the project.

Doug McCollough, Dublin's chief information officer, said the grant's total project budget is $13 million, and Union County and the cities of Dublin and Marysville are responsible for providing nearly $7 million in a local match. A portion of the funding also would go toward equipment for fleet-vehicle improvement.

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