For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

Ohio Department of Transportation Internet News Release
April 2, 2001

Ease the Squeeze' With Transit, ODOT Says

Delaware As crews prepare to reconstruct Interstate 70 from James Road to the I-70/I-71 split, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is encouraging motorists to ease the squeeze' of construction by using alternate routes and modes of transportation.

ODOT has teamed with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission's (MORPC) RideSolutions program to entice Columbus and central Ohio commuters to park their cars and use transit or share a ride.

"The partnership is an effort to reduce the number of vehicles in the work zone and keep traffic moving," said Jack Marchbanks, ODOT District 6 Deputy Director. "Some 140,000 vehicles travel that stretch of I-70 each day, and we need to reduce that number by half."

Last year, ODOT invested $117,000 in a partnership with COTA to create the Pickerington Express during phase 1 of the I-70 reconstruction. This year, ODOT has invested an additional $105,000 to support the route, as well as subsidize reduced fares on other east side express routes.

"With this partnership we're already taking at least 240 cars off I-70 each day, and we expect that number to only increase," said Marie S. Keister, COTA's director of corporate communications. "Our bus riders tell us they appreciate having an alternative to sitting in traffic."

ODOT is also partnering with Land of Legend, the Newark to Columbus Express, to provide additional service for commuters traveling from Newark and Licking County into downtown Columbus. ODOT's investment of $43,000 will allow Land of Legend to run an additional bus, as well as provide reduced fares to riders.

In addition to the Pickerington and Land of Legend Express routes, this year, ODOT will subsidize fares for riders using the Berwick and Eastland Express routes, which serve the Berwick Park and Ride lot at Winchester Pike and Refugee Road. Both provide service to commuters heading into downtown from the east and southeast areas of Columbus, as well as commuters coming further south from Lancaster.

MORPC's RideSolutions program, however, is setting its sights on commuters from as far away as Cambridge and Lancaster.

"Car and vanpooling offer a safe, economical, and convenient alternative to driving alone throughout our 11-county mid-Ohio region," said Janet Berardi of the RideSolutions program. "Our vanpool program is ideal for commuters who travel long distances to work."

Berardi said vanpool passengers pay one low monthly fare that includes a month-to-month van agreement, insurance, maintenance and gasoline.