Construction crews have moved massive amounts of dirt in preparing for the new state Route 665 and Interstate 71 interchange.

Construction crews have moved massive amounts of dirt in preparing for the new state Route 665 and Interstate 71 interchange.

About 302,000 cubic yards of dirt are needed for the embankment along the ramps and the sides of the bridge, said Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Burton.

"That's a huge amount of dirt they are excavating," Burton said.

So far, crews have excavated 86,000 cubic yards of dirt, which they'll use toward the construction of the embankment.

"They'll do a lot of earth moving starting in June," Burton said. "The big work will be ramps, and folks will start to see bridge work on 71 - pile-driving, that sort of stuff."

Concrete barriers have been placed along the interstate to protect crews from the traffic.

"They're moving the dirt and clearing the ground to bring in pieces ... that are needed to build that bridge," Burton said.

In addition, the speed limit on Route 665 has been reduced to 35 miles per hour. "If folks get stopped, that's a pretty sizable fine" for breaking the speed limit, Burton said.

"There's so many construction workers that are literally feet from moving vehicles. ... We're asking drivers to watch their speed on 665 and certainly on 71. There's no shoulder and there's certainly a lot of equipment. There's thousands of trucks that go in and out of the landfill."

The state Route 665 detour, which began in February, will remain in effect through the next few weeks as the utilities are relocated.

The detour takes eastbound traffic to Gateway West Drive to the relocated Haughn Road to old Haughn Road to Route 665 west, and the reverse for westbound traffic.

Meetings updating ODOT on the progress of the $22-million project are held every three to four weeks.

The new interchange will be a single point urban interchange, similar to the I-270 and Sawmill Road interchange.

The current interchange was constructed in the 1950s and was designed to handle much less traffic than now flows through the area on a daily basis.

Funding for the project came from many sources, including ODOT, the Ohio Public Works Commission and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission's designated federal funds.