Attention, commuters who live in Canal Winchester, Lancaster and southeastern Ohio: The state plans to add a lane on U.S. Route 33 in each direction between Hamilton Road and the Interstate 270 interchange.

It's among several major projects the Ohio Department of Transportation will be working on this construction season. Franklin County has 20, and 62 more are in the region's seven other counties: Delaware, Fayette, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway and Union.

Work will continue on the South Side "Megafix" to widen and repair Interstate 71 between Stringtown Road and state Route 315.

The $113 million project isn't scheduled to be finished until June 2020.

One major project expected to be finished this year includes $41.8 million worth of work on I-70 and I-71 in downtown Columbus, which includes four retaining walls and a new Grant Avenue bridge over I-70.

Route 33

The Route 33 widening begins in May, affecting nearly 67,000 vehicles that travel that stretch daily, according to traffic counts by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. Crashes and bad weather often mean morning rush-hour traffic can back up for miles, past Gender Road on some days.

Southbound traffic during the evening rush hour can back up past Refugee Road.

"The reason (for the project) is to reduce congestion in that area, improve the interchange at 270 and Route 33," said Mitch Blackford, deputy director of ODOT's District 6.

The $12.7 million project, scheduled to be finished by October 2019, also includes resurfacing between I-270 and Hamilton Road and widening the bridge over Big Walnut Creek. There will be weekend and nighttime lane and ramp closures.

I-270 widening

The widening of I-270 between I-70 and Route 33 in western Franklin County started in April 2017 and is supposed to be finished in September.

The $58.4 million project includes resurfacing I-270 in western Franklin County.

The freeway is being widened from three to four lanes in each direction and work has caused tie-ups and contributed to crashes in the congested area.

That section of I-270 handles between 103,000 and 116,000 vehicles a day.


Work on a SmartLane pilot project on eastbound Interstate 670, where commuters will be able to use the left shoulder, is set to begin in July.

It is part of $58 million in improvements that will include two new ramps from eastbound I-670 to northbound I-270 that will separate traffic heading north on I-270 or toward Easton Way and state Route 161.

Blackford said overhead signs will tell drivers when the left SmartLane is open, probably during afternoon rush hour. It will not be a high-occupancy lane and Central Ohio Transit Authority buses can use it, he said.

If it is successful, the state could add SmartLanes elsewhere.

Nick Gill, assistant director for transportation systems and funding at MORPC, said it would be the first SmartLane in Ohio.

"It is definitely something something to watch to see how it works," Gill said.

"It won't be perfect when it starts. They'll have to gain experience managing it."

Other major projects beginning this year include:

* Resurfacing Route 315 from Sullivant Avenue to I-670, from June through September. Cost: $2.1 million.

* Concrete-pavement repairs on I-70 between the Madison County line and Alton Darby Creek Road, from July through October. Cost: $1 million.

* Resurfacing I-70 from Fairwood Avenue in Columbus to the Fairfield County line, including guardrail replacements from July 2018 through July 2019. Cost: $5.25 million.