PRIZES … Meghan Gallagher is pictured holding down the Ohio Turnpike booth. The booth’s main attraction was spinning the wheel to win a prize. (PHOTOS BY LINDSAY PHILLIPS, STAFF)
By: Lindsay Phillips
The Ohio Turnpike is a 241 mile long limited-access toll highway. Recently, the Ohio Turnpike has been working effortlessly to update numerous aspects of the toll road, including projects through Williams County.
The county will see main updates including a full-depth excavation and pavement replacement on the eastbound lanes from milepost 2.9 to 7.26, new ramps to the new mainline Westgate Toll Plaza at milepost 3.6.
There are 14 state-of-the-art Toll Plazas on the Ohio Turnpike, including two near West Unity. Indian Meadows Toll Plaza is westbound, and Tiffin River Toll Plaza is eastbound.
This year the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission has scheduled six Customer Appreciation Events across numerous toll plazas on the almost 250-mile turnpike.
On Friday, August 5th, a Customer Appreciation Event was held at the Indian Meadows Service Plaza. Troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Criminal Justice Professor, Tracy McGinley, and staff from the Ohio Turnpike including Executive Director, Ferzan Ahmed were present.
Travelers and neighbors from the surrounding community were invited to attend and enjoy one-dollar hot dogs and kona ice provided by the turnpike.
Public Information Officer, Charles Cyrill shared, “While we’re serving, one of the things we do here, one of our service plaza partners provides lunch and one-dollar hot dogs.”
Toledo’s Classic Rock station 94.5 was set up on the grass outside the plaza with morning show host Pyke.
Inside the plaza, turnpike employees had a booth set up with a wheel to spin and win a prize for free. Prizes were gas cards, water bottles, can koozies, air fresheners and many others.
Bowling Green State University, Criminal Justice Professor Tracy McGinley, had a booth raising awareness to stop human trafficking. On Professor McGinley’s table was general information pamphlets on ways to talk to kids and teach them to be safe.
McGinley shared, “We’re just trying to raise awareness, on the turnpike if you go into the bathrooms, they’ve started putting signs and notices in the bathroom just because we know our highway systems that traffickers travel along there.”
McGinley went on to add, “Being out here and being able to do things like this are really important.”
Also, inside was Ohio State Highway Patrol with a cruiser. Sergeant Ryan Purpura from the Public Affairs Unit was present and shared, “The turnpike invited us, and we work really closely with them.”
Purpura went on to add, “The events have been great so far, we’ve had some kids checking out the patrol car and receiving some free goodies and that’s what this is about is just engaging with people and talking to them.”
Lindsay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
CRUISER … Ohio State Highway troopers turned on their police cruiser lights for kids to see.
RADIO .. Toledo’s Rock Station 94.5 came all the way out to West Unity to cover the event live from Morning Show host Pyke.