MORPC Seeks Public Input on TRAC Projects

April 8, 2021
Central Ohio projects seeking more than $96 million in TRAC funding

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is seeking comments on projects for which funding is being requested from the Transportation Review Advisory Council of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

TRAC assists in developing a selection process for ODOT’s largest transportation project investments. Applications have already been accepted for its 2021 selection round for major new projects. These are projects that have a total project cost more than $12 million, add transportation capacity, and are critical to the mobility, economic development and quality of life of Ohio residents.

“The nine projects requesting funding in Central Ohio each have a total cost that ranges between $15 million and $1.2 billion, so receiving TRAC funding really makes a difference in bringing a project to fruition.”
Thea Ewing, MORPC Director of Transportation & Infrastructure Development

As part of the selection process, ODOT requests that metropolitan planning organizations like MORPC provide local input by prioritizing the applications for projects that fall within the agency’s transportation planning boundaries.

“Understanding what our community needs from its roadways helps MORPC advocate for and prioritize these projects. This year’s TRAC process is on an accelerated timeline, so the final selection of funded projects will take place in late August instead of the usual cycle closure at the end of the year.”
Dina Lόpez, MORPC Strategic Projects Manager

Applications for projects located within MORPC’s metropolitan planning organization area include:

Alum Creek Drive Widening (Rickenbacker Area)

This project will widen Alum Creek Drive to include a third through-lane in each direction and replace bridges over Big Walnut Creek. It includes a sidewalk on one side and a shared use path on the other. The Franklin County Engineer’s Office is requesting $4.93 million, with $1.73 million for preliminary engineering in fiscal year 2023 and $3.2 million for detailed design work in fiscal year 2025.

Broad Street Widening in Pataskala

This project proposes to widen Broad Street (SR-16) between John Reese Parkway and Oxford Drive to create a consistent five-lane cross-section. This improvement would create side-by-side left-turn lanes between Main Street and Township Road. Improvements include the construction of a multi-use path on one side of Broad Street and a sidewalk on the other side. The City of Pataskala is requesting $12.14 million for various development activities. 

Far East I-70 Interchange Improvements at Taylor Road & SR-256

This interchange improvement project is a phase of the I-70 Far East Freeway improvements. Located in Fairfield and Licking counties, this project involves I-70 interchange improvements at SR-256 and Taylor Road. ODOT District 5 is requesting $5 million for preliminary engineering in fiscal year 2022.

Far East Freeway Phases 2 and 3

These phases of the Far East Freeway project will address safety and congestion issues in the I-70 corridor at the Brice Road interchange area. Phase 2 includes the reconfiguration of the north half of the Brice Road interchange and construction of westbound ramps to the I-270 interchange, as well as the replacement of the Brice Road bridge. Phase 3 constructs the south half of the Brice Road interchange. ODOT District 6 is requesting $1.1 million for right-of-way acquisition and $37.3 million in construction funding for state fiscal years 2022 and 2024, respectively.

Hard Shoulder Running I-71 Study

This project responds to increasing congestion and safety issues along I-71 north of downtown from approximately I-670 to northern I-270. Results from a preliminary study currently underway recommend a combination of hard shoulder running and auxiliary lanes. ODOT District 6 will be performing preservation work in Fiscal Year 2025 along this highway segment, and it is seeking to leverage that investment with TRAC funds to implement these improvements. The request is for $6 million, with $3 million for preliminary engineering in fiscal year 2022 and $3 million in detailed design work in fiscal year 2023.

I-71 & Big Walnut Interchange

The Big Walnut Interchange project will construct a new interchange on Interstate 71 at Big Walnut Road in Delaware County. The new interchange includes an additional lane on I-71 northbound from exit 121 to the proposed Exit 124 and local road improvements in the vicinity of the new interchange. The Delaware County Engineer’s Office is requesting $3 million for right-of-way acquisition in fiscal year 2025.

I-270 and US-23 Interchange

This project will improve the safety, capacity, and operation of US-23 at the I-270 interchange and Rathmell Road. Improvements include removing two cloverleaf ramps, constructing two new signalized ramps, rehabilitating two bridges, and other improvements at Rathmell Road. ODOT District 6 is requesting $14 million for construction activities in fiscal year 2023.

US-23 Corridor Study

This study will identify the most feasible way of improving the link between the cities of Toledo and Columbus. The study will focus on physical improvements between Waldo, Ohio – the end of existing freeway – and northern I-270. The primary concepts under study include a west bypass of Delaware connecting to US-33, an upgrade of the existing alignment on US-23, and an eastern bypass connecting to I-71. ODOT Districts 2 and 6 are requesting $2 million for preliminary engineering in fiscal year 2023.

US-33 at Pickerington Road and Allen Road

This project will remove the existing intersections along US-33 at Pickerington Road and Allen Road and replace them with an interchange facility to be located at Pickerington Road. ODOT District 5 is requesting $11.4 million, with $1 million for preliminary engineering (fiscal year 2022), $400,000 for detailed design (fiscal year 2023) and $10 million for right-of-way acquisition (fiscal year 2023).

The public is encouraged to provide comments or any additional information to help set MORPC’s priorities, including advantages and/or disadvantages of projects. All comments must be submitted by e-mail to info@morpc.org or in writing to Dina López, Re: TRAC Public Input, MORPC, 111 Liberty Street, Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43215. The deadline to submit feedback is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

 

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