Dublin has received funding from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the Ohio Department of Transportation to be used for improvements to the U.S. Route 33 and state Route 161-Post Road interchange.

The city began seeking the funds in 2017, and the agencies approved the allocations in 2019.

MORPC awarded $10 million toward the project May 31, said Dublin public-affairs officer Lindsay Weisenauer.

On Nov. 6, ODOT's Transportation Review Advisory Council awarded additional funds to bring its total contribution to $11.25 million for the project, she said.

The improvements are projected to cost $48.61 million, Weisenauer said. Of that, $30.98 million would be for construction, $13.2 million for right-of-way acquisition and utilities, $3.63 million for design and $800,000 for planning and environmental analysis.

Dublin and Union County are contributing $2.6 million and $3.5 million, respectively, toward construction, Weisenauer said.

Weisenauer said the complete funding breakdown for construction is:

* $10 million from MORPC.

* $11.25 million from TRAC.

* $2.6 milllion from Dublin.

* $3.5 million from Union County.

* $880,000 from ODOT.

* $2.75 million from developer contributions.

Dublin also paid $17.63 million in design and right-of-way acquisition, she said.

Funding for the project will be available beginning July 1, 2021, Weisenauer said, and the project is expected to take two years to complete.

Improvements would include two loop ramps, which would eliminate left turns necessary to access the U.S. Route 33 entrance ramps. Intersections with both the eastbound and westbound ramp termini would be controlled via multilane roundabouts.

"We are working with our partners to determine if that is still the best and most appropriate traffic-control solution for the ramp-terminal intersections," Weisenauer said.

The interchange is operating at 200% over capacity, causing traffic congestion and delays during peak hours, Weisenauer said.

Additional development will add pressure to the already congested interchange, she said.

Construction is underway on a FedEx distribution facility 2 miles north of Route 161, along the Industrial Parkway corridor, she said.

"The interchange upgrade will improve efficiency and safety not only for FedEx but also for the driving public," she said.

Additionally, the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is expanding its ambulatory-care network with a new, large outpatient-care center to be built on 34 acres near Route 161, Route 33 and Shier-Rings Road, Weisenauer said. The medical center is planned to open in 2022.

At the same time, the NW 33 Innovation Corridor Council of Governments and ODOT's DriveOhio will be host to international researchers in the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor to test and share lessons learned regarding connected and automated vehicle technology, she said.

"Efficient vehicle research cannot occur when traffic is snarled," Weisenauer said. "Therefore, upgrading the interchange is vital to further advancing Ohio's leadership in smart mobility."

Such partnerships as the one among Dublin, ODOT and Union County are becoming necessary to help execute larger projects, such as the Post Road interchange project, said Jeff Stauch, Union County engineer.

Stauch said the project is needed to help address continued growth in the corridor, to help relieve increasing congestion issues and to help with safety concerns that are expected to increase with growing traffic volumes.

"The existing geometrics of the interchange are outdated, and with this construction, we are striving to be out ahead of the congestion and increasing safety concerns that accompany the growth," Stauch said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah