Ohio Department of Transportation—Lytle Tunnel Rehabilitation

The Lytle Tunnel—the only mechanically ventilated tunnel in Ohio—is an essential structure in downtown Cincinnati, ever since it was built in 1970. The three-tube, six-lane tunnel that carries I-71 under the Lytle Park Historic District in downtown Cincinnati is one of the very few vehicular tunnels in the state of Ohio and carries over 50,000 cars and trucks daily. However, after decades of operation, ODOT determined some upgrades were necessary to both improve safety for users and save ODOT money in the long run.

The $32.22 million rehabilitation of the tunnel included the installation of light emitting diode or LED lighting (one of the first tunnels in the country to do so), cutting-edge sound proofing to reduce noise, carbon monoxide detectors to monitor air quality, a new fire suppression system, and linear heat detectors with a programmed ventilation response. Even though drivers may only be able to see some of those safety improvements, they are now even safer than before driving through the Lytle Tunnel, while ODOT should experience monetary savings over time from investing in those improvements.