A rebuilt interchange at Interstate 270 and U.S. Route 33 in Dublin would be the first of its kind in the United States, officials say.
The $92-million plan calls for replacing two of the four loops of the existing cloverleaf design with ramps that don't require drivers to navigate tight curves. A second phase is planned to eliminate a third loop about 2025.
How will it work? Drivers on eastbound Route 33 will travel up and over I-270, back down to ground level, and then under Route 33 before entering northbound I-270.
Traffic heading west on Route 33 will make the converse movement to get on southbound I-270.
Dublin City Manager Marsha Grigsby said the interchange was built in the 1960s, before Dublin had attracted so many residents and businesses.
Today, about 124,000 vehicles pass from I-270 to Route 33 at that interchange every day. About 25,000 trucks pass through the interchange daily, including those headed for Honda's Marysville plant.
A 2012 study found that auto products represent about 14 percent of goods traveling through the interchange.
Honda's Marysville operations are about 25 miles from the interchange. The company announced last week it planned to renovate a nearby 184,000-square-foot facility to build its Acura NSX sports car.
Nancy Burton, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation, said 235 crashes were reported at the interchange in the past three years -- more than expected for that type of interchange.
Officials say the new design will cut down on crashes and relieve congestion in a corridor that was built when Dublin was mostly farmland.
Construction could start in 2014, with completion by 2016.
The city of Dublin has committed $17.25 million toward the project and is asking the state to kick in $46 million for the first phase. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is considering putting in $18 million in the form of a state loan on top of $7 million the agency already earmarked.
MORPC's decision on whether to provide the extra money will be made in June, according to Transportation Director Robert Lawler. The state should answer for its portion by late summer.
Planners expect to make up the remaining $3.5 million by saving money on the project, Dublin spokeswoman Sue Burness said.