Ten projects seeking nearly $350 million in TRAC Funding
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is seeking comments on projects seeking funding from the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).
TRAC is integral in evaluating and selecting many of ODOT’s largest transportation project investments, funded through the Major New Capacity Program. These projects have a total cost of more than $12 million, add transportation capacity, and are critical to the mobility, economic development, and quality of life of Ohio residents. The 2023 application period closed at the end of May, with ten projects from the MORPC Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), located in Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, and Licking counties, submitting applications for funding. Final funding decisions by the TRAC are expected later this year.
As part of the selection process, ODOT requests that MPOs, such as MORPC, facilitate local input by prioritizing the applications for projects that fall within the agency’s transportation planning boundaries.
The public is invited to provide feedback on each application so planners can better understand local perspectives.
Applications for projects located within MORPC’s metropolitan planning organization area include:
LinkUS West Broad Street Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
As part of the larger LinkUS initiative to improve transit service across the region, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) proposes to implement bus rapid transit (BRT) along 9.3 miles of U.S. 40 (West Broad Street) between downtown Columbus and Prairie Township. The project will feature dedicated guideways, zero-emission vehicles, near-level boarding, off-board fare collection, complete streets improvements, transit signal priority, improved stations, and increased transit service. COTA is requesting $39.05 million for construction in fiscal year 2026.
I-70/I-71 Downtown Ramp Up Phase 2D
This phase of the Downtown Ramp Up/Columbus Crossroads vision will rebuild the east interchange of I-70 and I-71 by eliminating weaves, consolidating ramps, and adding capacity. ODOT District 6 is requesting $125 million for construction in fiscal year 2026.
I-70/I-71 Downtown Ramp Up Phase 3
Also, a phase of the Downtown Ramp Up/Columbus Crossroads program, this project will reconstruct I-71 between Main and Broad Streets. The new Lester Drive (southbound) and Elijah Pierce Avenue (northbound) urban avenues will be constructed adjacent to I-71. The Town and Oak Street bridge over I-71 will also be replaced. ODOT District 6 is requesting $75 million for construction in fiscal year 2026.
I-270 & I-71 Interchange (North)
Under this proposal, the I-270 eastbound to I-71 northbound ramp will be widened to two lanes using the existing structure. Other improvements will include lane modifications, replaced bridge decks, and other bridge rehabilitations. ODOT District 6 is requesting $22.5 million for construction in fiscal year 2025.
I-71 Hard Shoulder Running/Smart Lane
This project will create a Hard Shoulder Running (HSR) lane between Fifth Avenue and S.R. 161 in Columbus. Numerous bridges will be rehabilitated, and the roadway will be resurfaced. ODOT District 6 is requesting $50 million for construction in fiscal year 2025.
I-71/Sunbury Parkway & Interchange
This request seeks to address the safety and congestion “bottleneck” currently experienced at the existing I-71/U.S. 36/S.R. 37 interchange due to inadequate ramp and arterial capacity. The project will construct new interchange ramps at I-71, south of the existing U.S. 36/S.R. 37 interchange. The project will enhance capacity and increase mobility on the national highway system in partnership with private economic development. ODOT District 6 and the Delaware County Transportation Improvement District are requesting $15 million for construction in fiscal year 2026.
Alum Creek Drive (SR 317 to Groveport Road)
Alum Creek Drive provides primary access for freight and passenger traffic to Rickenbacker International Airport and Inland Port. This project will include adding a third lane in each direction to the existing roadway between S.R. 317 and Groveport Road. Pedestrian facilities (sidewalk on one side and a shared use path on the other) will also be installed. The bridges over Big Walnut Creek will be replaced. The Franklin County Engineer’s Office is requesting $3.59 million for detailed design in fiscal year 2024.
I-71 & Taylor Road/S.R. 256 Interchanges
This project will improve the I-70 interchanges at S.R. 256 and Taylor Road in Fairfield and Licking Counties. Work will include realigned ramps at S.R. 256, auxiliary lanes between S.R. 256 and Taylor Road, a new bridge over I-70 for Taylor Road S.W. with ramps to I-70, turn lanes at S.R. 204/Taylor Road and Taylor Road/Taylor Road S.W. intersections. ODOT District 5 is applying for $5.5 million for preliminary engineering in fiscal year 2024 and $1.5 million for detailed design in fiscal year 2025.
I-70 Widening (Licking County)
ODOT District 5 intends to widen I-70 from two to three lanes in each direction between Palmer Road and the S.R. 158 interchange. The district will evaluate the need for pavement rehabilitation and minor bridge preventative maintenance work as part of the preliminary engineering phase. ODOT District 5 is seeking $5 million for preliminary engineering in fiscal year 2025.
S.R. 161/S.R. 37 Widening
This project would widen S.R. 161/S.R. 37 in Franklin and Licking Counties. Work will also include operational improvements of service interchanges at Beech Road, Mink Street, S.R. 310, and S.R. 37. ODOT District 5 is requesting $5 million for preliminary engineering in fiscal year 2024 and $2 million for detailed design in fiscal year 2025. This project is also within the Licking County Area Transportation Study (LCATS) MPO boundary and will go through an additional, separate prioritization process for that area.
One-page fact sheets on the projects are available at morpc.org/funding.
The public is encouraged to provide comments or any additional information to help set MORPC’s priorities, including the advantages and/or disadvantages of projects. All comments must be submitted by e-mail to email@example.com or in writing to Elliott Lewis, Re: TRAC Public Input, 111 Liberty Street, Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43215. The deadline to submit feedback is 5 p.m. on Friday, August 11, 2023.