If you've ever wanted to weigh in on a proposed major road or highway project, here's an opportunity.
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is seeking comments on projects for which funding is being sought from the Ohio Department of Transportation's Transportation Review Advisory Council, according to a July 11 news release from MORPC.
The TRAC has accepted applications for its list of major new projects for the state's 2020-24 project-selection rounds. Major new projects are those that have a total cost greater than $12 million and "add transportation capacity and are critical to the mobility, economic development and quality of life of the residents of Ohio," according to the release.
The project list includes work planned for Interstate 71 northbound from Stringtown Road to the I-270 interchange.
"What we're planning to do is construct a ramp lane to the right of a barrier wall that would be for traffic exiting from I-71 northbound onto Stringtown Road or I-270," said Breanna Badanes, a spokeswoman with ODOT's District 6 office.
Traffic would go to the right of the barrier wall to make the exits, she said.
"A ramp lane like this is designed to help eliminate the weaving the merging that occurs as drivers try to enter and exit interchanges," Badanes said. "It's a safety measure."
The $10 million ramp-lane addition would be the first component of several projects planned for northbound I-71 near Grove City, she said.
The TRAC application, if approved, would fund the ramp-lane project, Badanes said.
Other northbound I-71 projects in the planning stage include installing a new flyover ramp from I-71 northbound to I-270 westbound and widening Stringtown Road at the ramp to I-71, she said.
The total cost of the work on the northbound section of I-71 is estimated at $65 million, Badanes said.
If the TRAC funds are approved, construction on the ramp-lane addition would likely begin in 2021 and take about a year to complete, she said.
The ramp-lane project would be put on hold if the TRAC funds are not approved, Badanes said.
That project would be completed before the other work would begin, Badanes said. A timetable for the other components still is being finalized.
The multi-year, $153 million I-71 southside "mega-fix" project is expected to be completed by summer 2020, Badanes said.
Some "short-term" ramp closures, including the ramp to Greenlawn Avenue, will take place in August or September and work on a new ramp from I-71 to Stringtown Road is to be completed by the end of the year, she said.
Next year, construction work will focus on the Frank Road interchange, Badanes said.
The northbound I-71 work will serve as a "complement" to the southbound project, she said.
According to the MORPC news release, other projects put before the TRAC from the MORPC area also include:
* The Big Walnut Interchange project to construct a new I-71 interchange at Big Walnut Road near Alum Creek State Park in Delaware County.
The request is for Tier II status only.
Tier II status means that after the preliminary work is done and a preferred alternative is selected, the project would have to go before TRAC again to be granted Tier I status, according to information from MORPC. Only Tier I projects are allowed to go into construction. The project is currently not seeking funding.
* A project to widen U.S. 36/37 in the city of Delaware from one to two lanes in each direction. The city's request is for $8 million for construction in 2022
* The first phase of the Far East Freeway project to replace the southbound I-270 to eastbound I-70 loop ramp with a flyover ramp and construct auxiliary lanes along eastbound I-70 between I-270 and Brice Road. The request is for $8 million for construction in 2022.
* The second and third phases of the Far East Freeway project to reconfigure the north half of the Brice Road interchange and construct westbound ramps to the I-270 interchange, replace the Brice Road bridge and build the south half of the Brice Road interchange.
The request is for $1.5 million for right-of-way acquisition and $73.1 million for construction in 2020 and 2022, respectively.
* A project at the I-270 and U.S. 23 interchange to remove two cloverleaf ramps, build two new signalized ramps, repair two bridge structures and resurface portions of I-270 and U.S. 23. The request is for $13 million for construction in 2021.
* Removing the existing intersections along U.S. Route 33 from Pickerington Road to Allen Road and replacing them with an interchange facility to be located between the Hill-Diley Road and Winchester Road (Carroll) interchanges. The request is for $10 million for right-of-way acquisition in 2023.
* The U.S. 33/state Route 161 and Post Road Interchange project in Union County to include two new loop ramps that will eliminate the existing left-turn conflicts to enter the U.S. 33 ramps. The request is for $9.25 million for construction in 2022.
One-page fact sheets on the eight projects are available at morpc.org/tool-resource/funding-grants.
The public may provide comments or additional information to set the priorities, including advantages and/or disadvantages of projects, the MORPC release said.
MORPC will review and consider comments during the prioritization and plan to recommend regional priorities for adoption during the September business meetings, starting Sept. 4 with the community advisory committee.
The priorities are expected to be presented to TRAC at a public hearing Sept. 11 and be submitted formally by Oct. 15 -- the date of the last TRAC public meeting.
Those interested in commenting on proposed projects should do so by writing to Dina Lopez, MORPC, 111 Liberty St., Suite 100, Columbus 43215; sending a fax to 614-233-0750; or emailing email@example.com. The deadline is Aug. 9.
For more information, call Lopez at 614-233-4149.