For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

 Ohio Department of Transportation  Internet News Release
November 18, 2003

ODOT Shares Concept to Fix Downtown Split'

(COLUMBUS) The Ohio Department of Transportation is reviewing a preliminary concept for the Interstate 70/71 downtown "split," which would eliminate merging and weaving by creating two separate facilities for through and downtown traffic. For the past year, ODOT has been working with the community to fix the corridor, which is considered the most congested, high-accident freeway location in the state.

The public will have an opportunity to review drawings, ask questions and comment on the proposed concept Wednesday, Nov. 19 between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. at the Columbus Health Department located at 240 Parsons Ave. Its one of several concepts currently being reviewed by the department. Details are also available on the web site at www.7071study.org or by calling ODOT at 466-8480.

Under the concept, through traffic would travel on a new and expanded freeway system with three lanes for I-70 traffic and two lanes for traffic on I-71. Currently, there is only one lane for traffic on I-71 and two lanes for I-70. The lanes would also be configured so motorists continuing through on either freeway would not have to change lanes.

"Although the freeway would be expanded, preliminary engineering shows that it can be done almost completely within the existing right of way so no homes, churches or residential buildings would be taken," said ODOT Project Manager Tim McDonald. "That has been the number one concern of downtown residents and we agree."

Motorists traveling into the downtown would use flyover ramps to directly connect into an improved city street system running parallel to the freeway. The improved system would be designed for 35 mph speeds, traffic lights and improved pedestrian crossings that maintain current access between neighborhoods and downtown.

"Both the freeway and local street system would essentially follow the current alignment, including on both sides of the freeway," said McDonald. "This design would allow us to maximize our use of existing highway right of way and minimize the impact to private property and nearby neighborhoods."

The freeway system could be expanded to accommodate future traffic by pulling back grassy slopes and pulling entrance and exit ramps out of the freeway corridor. Access on local streets would be preserved and enhanced by rebuilding Livingston, Fulton, Lester and Parsons. In the few areas where these streets would be widened, ODOT says it can push the roadway out toward the freeway to reduce the impact to private property.

"Were still at the very beginning stages of the process to rebuild this corridor," said McDonald. "However, now is the time to get involved and voice your opinion."

ODOT hopes to have final recommendations for fixing the corridor by early next year. Construction could begin as early as 2007.