Northland News

MORPC setting priorities

Comment sought on 8 central Ohio road projects

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The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is seeking public feedback on eight projects for which it is requesting almost $200 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The projects in the central Ohio area are being considered for funding from ODOT's Transportation Review Advisory Council and MORPC will give input on which ones take high priority.

"Each of us (regional planning groups) have our own process for collecting information and developing priorities for projects," MORPC Transportation Director Robert Lawler said.

To establish priorities, MORPC committees will look at technical information and public comments June 3, with final priorities established by June 13 for a June 18 deadline with TRAC.

The eight projects are considered major or new, which means they will cost more than $12 million and will "add transportation capacity, and are critical to the mobility, economic development and quality of life of the citizens of Ohio," information from MORPC said.

Projects up for consideration in central Ohio are:

* A $46 million request for engineering, right-of-way acquisition and construction at the Interstate-270/U.S. Route 33 interchange. In the first phase, directional ramps will replace existing loop ramps in the northwest and southeast quadrants of the interchange.

* A plan to replace the southbound I-270 to eastbound I-70 loop ramps with a flyover ramp on the far East Side for $75.5 million. The project includes auxiliary lanes along eastbound I-70 between I-270 and Brice Road.

* A project to reduce congestion and increase capacity on I-270 between I-71 and U.S. Route 23 is requesting $11 million to widen I-270 and improve interchanges at U.S. 23, I-71 and Stringtown Road.

* The next phase of the Columbus Crossroads project, seeking $24 million for improvements to increase safety and reduce congestion on I-70 and I-71 through downtown Columbus.

* A request for $10 million for I-70 widening in Fairfield and Licking counties from four lanes to six.

* An interchange planned to replace an intersection at U.S. Route 33 and Winchester Road/High Street; $30.5 million is requested for construction.

* A plan to replace the intersection of U.S. Route 33 and Pickerington Road with an interchange is requesting $1.5 million.

* No money is requested for the project, but a plan to construct an interchange at the intersection of U.S. Route 33 and Bixby Road requesting to be moved up from Tier 2 to Tier 1 priority level.

After MORPC prioritizes the projects, they will move on to TRAC, Lawler said. TRAC will release a draft list of projects for funding July 25 and a final list is expected Aug. 22.

Funding for the projects comes from state and federal sources. Few of the eight projects up for consideration have a local funding match.

"In many cases (there is no local match) because it's ODOT applying to ODOT," Lawler said.

The project in Dublin does have federal and local funds already committed, he said.

The public can submit comments about the projects to Claire Jennings by fax at 614-233-4250, email cjennings@morpc.org or send letters to MORPC, 111 Liberty St., Suite 100, Columbus 43215.

Comments must arrive by May 30.

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