Special to 1808Delaware

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced a proposed approach to improving safety along the U.S. 23 Corridor from Waldo in Marion County south to Worthington in Franklin County – which of course includes Delaware County.

ODOT is looking at ways to improve safety and reduce congestion by reducing the number of traffic signals and intersections along the U.S. 23 corridor. This corridor already has 40 traffic signals and 30% more traffic than the roadway was designed to accommodate, leading to increased congestion, unpredictable travel times, bottlenecks, and more importantly higher crash rates. This area is among the fastest growing not only in Ohio, but the nation, meaning without any action the problems will continue to get worse.

“Safety has been my top priority since taking office, and this area has high rates of crashes and fatalities which is unacceptable,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “In addition to safety concerns, the sheer number of stops and traffic signals has grown over time and reduced the free flow of travel along this stretch of road. It is important that all urban areas of the state have a strong, clear network for freight and passenger travel. This is just the first step towards improvement.”

U.S. 23 Corridor Safety Improvements

“Our engineers have been working to improve travel along the U.S. 23 corridor for several years now. While we’ve made improvements, more clearly needs to be done,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “We can’t do this alone. We’ll be engaging the public in the coming months to ensure that those who live, work, and travel here have a voice in its future.”

ODOT will hold a series of public meetings with key stakeholders like business and community leaders as well as members of the public. These meetings will include discussion of different concepts that could be pursued. These concepts range from traditional freeway interchanges, restricted crossing U-turns, overpasses and underpasses, and connector road interchanges along the U.S. 23 corridor.

Additional public meetings are planned for early 2024 to help with a feasibility study. By the end of next year, ODOT hopes to have a full report on next steps.

“We have several options before us and with the help of the public we hope to refine those options into an action plan that makes the most sense to improve transportation through the corridor,” said ODOT District 6 Deputy Director Toni Turowski. “We won’t let transportation be a roadblock to economic growth in Ohio.”

Transportation and Economic Development Study

Included in House Bill 23, Governor DeWine initiated a $10 million Strategic Transportation & Development Analysis.  ODOT will work with the Department of Development and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and a highly respected team to complete a transportation and economic development analysis that will identify high priority development sites and hot spots, while at the same time assess the transportation system over the next three decades. This study will also look at more direct freeway connections between the Columbus metro area and communities in northwest Ohio.

“Northwest Ohio is home to industries like advanced manufacturing, automotive, energy, food processing, and logistics and distribution. From rail hubs to Lake Erie ports, billions of dollars-worth of goods flow through our part of the state,” said ODOT District 2 Deputy Director Patrick McColley. “Tying these industries to central Ohio is key to our state’s economic prosperity.”

As part of the study ODOT will hold regional meetings with metropolitan planning organizations, rural planning organizations, economic development agencies, businesses, and other key stakeholders.

Image by PayPal.me/FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

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