Dublin and Union County expect to hear results in February about funding requests for improvements to the interchange at U.S. Route 33 and state Route 161-Post Road.

Dublin and Union County expect to hear results in February about funding requests for improvements to the interchange at U.S. Route 33 and state Route 161-Post Road.

Design and construction for the project is $43.4 million.

Improvements will include two loop ramps to eliminate left turn conflicts to enter the U.S. 33 ramps.

Intersections with both the east and west ramp terminals will be controlled via multi-lane roundabouts.

Funding requests include $18.53 million from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and $20.68 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Dublin Engineering Manager of Transportation Jeannie Willis said the improvements will reduce significant backup and delays drivers experience during peak hours and improve safety and efficiency.

"Safety is always a concern," she said. "It's always one of the first things we look at."

The existing interchange is experiencing about 10 crashes per year, and many of those are because of congestion, Willis said.

The frequency of the crashes isn't alarming, but the number illustrates a larger trend related to congestion in the area.

The interchange was built in 1968 and hasn't been significantly modified since then, Willis said.

The traffic volume has exceeded the interchange's original design capacity by more than 200 percent.

"The population there has more than doubled in Union County," Willis said.

An estimated 65,000 vehicles use the interchange daily, Willis said.

City officials expect those numbers to continue to grow based on the amount of freight traveling through the interchange as well as the evolution of Ohio University's Dublin medical campus and other area development.

"That is why we need the interchange today," she said.

The improvements are expected to support traffic for the next 25 years, Willis said.

Union County is the funding applicant and partnered with Dublin, said Union County Engineer Jeff Stauch.

Almost half of the project's cost has already been spent on right of way and plan development.

Construction cost for the project is estimated at $28 million.

Dublin would fund about $5 million of that, while Union County would provide $1 million.

The funding grants from MORPC and ODOT would cover the difference, and partial funding from either one or both agencies is highly likely, Stauch said.

"It's a bit of a mix and match," he said.

Project funding is typically not awarded during the first submittal, although it depends upon the project, Stauch said.

For example, securing ODOT funding for the Interstate 270-U.S. 33 interchange took three attempts.

A construction schedule isn't yet defined, but Stauch anticipates the work will take place over the course of two construction seasons, likely not starting before 2019 or 2020.

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