Drivers might not realize they're driving through Dublin when the Interstate 270-U.S. Route 33 interchange improvements are complete.
According to an update provided to Dublin City Council members last week on aesthetics set for the improvements, Ohio Department of Transportation requirements on text might keep a Dublin identifier off bridges at the interchange.
Artwork of the Scioto River and Celtic knots for the interchange has already been approved as aesthetic improvements, but text for the word "Dublin" on the bridge has been a sticking point.
"The Ohio Department of Transportation has specific rules that outline the content and style of text that is permissible on bridge parapets," a staff report to council stated.
"In the case of this project, text on the parapet is limited to identifying Dublin and text must be simple and easy to read."
After seeing the text recommended for the bridge that will identify Dublin, however, "staff is moving forward without the use of text for the project," the staff report said.
"The addition of this element does not consistently match the other elements of the project."
Dublin City Councilman John Reiner was not satisfied with the news.
"You pass through this rather interesting artistic creation ... and you don't know what you went through," Reiner said, adding that identifying the community is central to marketing.
Councilman Richard Gerber agreed the three options for text were not attractive and he said Dublin does have other signs along I-270.
Reiner, however, asked staff to submit Celtic-style text to ODOT for approval.
Sara Ott, a Dublin senior project manager, said information conversations with ODOT have indicated that ornate text such as Celtic-themed text would not be acceptable, but Reiner insisted on asking.
City Manager Marsha Grigsby said the city will get more information about the styles of text allowed by ODOT, but other council members weren't sure how much difference having "Dublin" on a bridge would make.
"The other thing that overrides everything is if you're driving 65 mph, are you going to see it?" Councilwoman Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher asked.
City staff will continue working with ODOT to see if they can come up with a solution.
Construction on improvements to the I-270-U.S. Route 33 interchange are expected to begin as soon as late this year and will add new on and off ramps.
In other city news, council members accepted a bid for a parking lot at Riverside Drive near the Emerald Parkway bridge over the Scioto River.
A bid of $228,670 from Janco LLC was accepted to install a parking lot under the I-270 bridge over Riverside Drive.
"The work consists of all the materials and labor necessary to construct a parking lot, shared use path, retaining walls, river shore protection and a canoe/kayak launch," the staff report to council stated.
The work is expected to be completed by mid-summer.