For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE
The Ohio Department of Transportation & The Office of Governor Bob Taft
June 8, 2006

 

TAFT BREAKS GROUND ON NEW STATE ROUTE 161
$150 million SR 161 relocation to improve safety and encourage development

JACKSONTOWN (June 8, 2006) Governor Bob Taft and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 5 Deputy Director Myron Pakush today broke ground for the first phase of the $150 million, 12.6-mile relocation and widening of State Route 161 between New Albany and Granville.

Upgrading this stretch of State Route 161 to a four-lane highway will create a safer and more efficient route for commuters and improve access for people and goods between eastern and central Ohio, said Taft.  Our Jobs and Progress Plan will stimulate Ohios economy and create new jobs by rebuilding our overstressed and aging highway system for the 21st century.

The SR 161 upgrade is a key part of Tafts Jobs and Progress Plan. The Jobs and Progress Plan, unveiled in 2003, is a $5 billion, 10-year plan to rebuild Ohios urban interstate networks, address high-crash locations and complete the states rural macro-corridors, like SR 161.

Completing the SR 161 macro-corridor is an important step for ODOT to achieve its goal of placing more than 90 percent of Ohios population within 10 miles of an adequate highway corridor and providing every region of the state with a modern transportation corridor.  With plans to upgrade U.S. Routes 24, 30, 33 and 35 well underway, SR 161 is one of the last links to completing Ohios macro-corridor system. This project will complete one of the last two remaining unimproved segments of this link.

As with all of ODOTs macro-corridor upgrades and Jobs and Progress projects, the SR 161 expansion will increase safety and mobility. With about 170 accidents each year, the accident rate in the SR 161/37 corridor is about 70 percent higher than the statewide average for similar roadways. With growth and development in eastern Franklin and Licking counties expected to continue, these numbers will only continue to grow, making the route a safety concern for Ohio if it is not upgraded.

Since the announcement of Governor Tafts Jobs and Progress Plan, ODOT has been carefully planning its construction program to deliver this major investment, said ODOT Director Gordon Proctor. With projects under way in every region of the state, the full plan is beginning to unfold. Todays ground breaking reinforces the Governors commitment to increase safety and mobility while improving the states business climate and encouraging new economic development opportunities.

Phase one construction will be completed in summer 2008. Phase two will begin in 2007 and will extend east to the existing four-lane section of SR161 in Granville with an estimated completion date of November 2008.

This upgrade is vital to turning State Route 161 into a major thoroughfare, making it easier to travel and providing connectivity between economic centers, Taft said. This means more jobs, a better standard of living and an overall improved quality of life for the people of eastern Ohio.