The state of Ohio is taking a second look at plans to widen Interstates 71 and 270 near Grove City.

The state of Ohio is taking a second look at plans to widen Interstates 71 and 270 near Grove City.

Because of funding shortages, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Transportation Review Advisory Council is re-evaluating a number of “tier 2” highway projects, which are still in design and engineering phases.

TRAC is a nine-member body, led by the ODOT director, that determines funding processes for new highway projects, each exceeding $5 million in cost.

Earlier this year, it was determined that allocations to tier 2 projects exceed available funding, said ODOT public information officer David Rose.

Rose said TRAC expects to have a final tier 2 draft in March or April. At the moment, TRAC is fielding input from municipalities and organizations regarding all plans on the tier 2 list.

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission will meet with TRAC on Oct. 20 to propose 10 priority projects, said MORPC transportation director Robert Lawler.

MORPC’s policy committee ranked the I-270 outerbelt project fifth and the I-71 project eighth out of 10 projects.

Lawler said he believes both projects will continue to be included on TRAC’s list in tier 2.

He said TRAC considers other factors besides MORPC’s rankings. “We think it has some weight, but it’s not the entire weight,” he said of the MORPC list.

The I-270 project would widen the road from four to eight lanes between I-71 and U.S. Route 23, said ODOT spokesperson Breanna Watzka.

The I-71 project would widen the road from four to six lanes along about 0.9 mile between the Pickaway County line and Stringtown Road.

“Both of these projects have been high priority to Grove City for over 10 years,” said Grove City’s consulting engineer Mike Keller of EMH&T architects and engineers.

Rose said it’s difficult to estimate the number of projects that TRAC will have to eliminate.

If a project is removed from the list, it could be proposed again a year later.

TRAC’s evaluation process differs from MORPC’s evaluation process, Rose said, saying he doesn’t know how MORPC’s project list will affect TRAC’s evaluation.

“TRAC members on an ongoing basis will continue to reevaluate projects,” he said.

Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said he will “remain optimistic” that the two projects won’t be eliminated from TRAC’s project list.

“I’m not disappointed at this point.”