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How Ohio Turnpike toll workers are taking extra safety precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic

Working on the frontlines during a pandemic takes a lot of sacrifice.

CLEVELAND — "Ohioans need to be proud of the frontline workers at the Ohio Turnpike. They have stepped up. They have taken all the advice from the CDC and ODH, and implemented those measures to keep ourselves safe and to keep our customers safe." 

Those are the words of Ferzan Ahmed, Ohio Turnpike's Executive Director.

"I have to say how proud I am of them. We are very good at handling emergencies when it comes to traffic and weather. We are not scientists. We are not EMS workers, so we are learning like everyone else."

Safety was Ahmed’s number one priority when it came to his team and customers. That’s why they implemented plastic shields to protect both toll workers and drivers. 

"We provided those shields to keep employees safe. Since the governor has given the order for a safe return to work, we have now resumed normal field operations. But employees still have to clean before and after their shift."

According to Ahmed, traffic went down on the turnpike almost 70 percent.

"We have to keep our service plazas open because trucking is such an important part of Ohio’s economy, and the Ohio Turnpike is one of the most heavily traveled truck routes in the country."

Ahmed says keeping the Turnpike up and running wouldn’t be possible without his dedicated team.

"We are doing the best we can. We are doing very well as an agency and it’s because of our employees. They have stepped up. They are doing the job. They are taking the extra measures to keep themselves safe, and they're doing a fabulous job."

Ahmed also mentioned that drivers who use the Turnpike can help their team by purchasing an E-ZPass because it provides less person-to-person contact.