By Rick Palsgrove
Central Ohio is growing and plans are being made to ensure the area’s transportation systems are up to the task of keeping the expected growth in population on the move.
“It’s estimated there will be 300,000 more people and 200,000 more jobs in Central Ohio by 2040,” Nick Gill, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission assistant director Transportation Systems and Funding, told Groveport City Council in February. “Along with transit and bike and pedestrian facilities, expansion of the roadway system is part of providing mobility for our growing Central Ohio region. The draft roadway projects include almost 250 miles of critical roadway expansions.”
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) has available for review and comment the draft roadway projects proposed for the 2016-2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP).
“This is the long range plan for the region that is reviewed every four years,” said Gill. “The idea is to not only plan for expansion, but also to maintain what we have.”
When asked by Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp how the projects are prioritized, Gill said the prioritization comes from discussions among communities, counties, and the Ohio Department of Transportation.
“Sometimes it is development driven,” said Gill. “It’s up to each community.”
Groveport Finance Director Jeff Green said the city’s engineer is reviewing the plan to see how it affects Groveport.
The 2016-2040 MTP is for the MORPC transportation planning area, including Delaware and Franklin counties, Bloom and Violet townships in Fairfield County, New Albany, Pataskala and Etna Township in Licking County and Jerome Township in Union County.
The MTP will include roadway, pedestrian, bikeway, and public transit facilities including improvements identified by the Central Ohio Transit Authority and Delaware Area Transit Agency. Federal funding may be sought in the future for projects included in the MTP. The MTP will consider effects upon low-income and minority residents and will include an air quality conformity analysis.
The draft projects include: new roadway or widening of a roadway; intersection improvement; new or modified freeway interchange; bike and multi-use paths, and other roadway projects such as operational changes or access management.
Some of the projects proposed for the 2020 to 2040 time frame (unless otherwise noted) and their estimated costs for the Canal Winchester/Groveport/Madison Township area include:
•Road projects: add turn lanes on Williams Road from Alum Creek Drive to Hamilton Road, $22.2 to $28.4 million; widen Gender Road from two to four lanes in both directions from U.S. 33 to Brice Road, $47.1 to $60.3 million; reconfigure slip, loop, and directional interchange ramps at I-270 and U.S. 33, $175.3 to $224.5 million; convert U.S. 33 from a four lane roadway to a four lane freeway from Hamilton Road to Gender Road and from Gender Road to Hill/Diley Road, both $2.8 to 3.6 million; new interchange at U.S. 33 and Bixby Road, $65 to $83.2 million; add turn lanes to Noe-Bixby Road from Winchester Pike to Main Street, $$46.4 to $59.4 million; widen Bixby Road from U.S. 33 to Winchester Pike from two to four lanes both directions, $14.9 to $19.1 million; add turn lanes to Bixby Road from Ebright Road to U.S. 33, $11.8 to $15.1 million; Bixby-Sims roads connector at Winchester Boulevard extension, $6.8 to $8.5 million; widen State Route 317 from Alum Creek Drive to Groveport Road from two to four lanes, $29.5 to $37.3 million; Ebright-Bixby roads interchange connector, $8.9 to $11.3 million; add/modify turn lanes on Winchester Pike at Ebright/Shannon roads (slated for 2017), $2.5 million; add turn lanes to Gender Road at Refugee Road (slated for 2016), $7 million;
add turn lanes to Wright Road from Diley to Hill Road, $8.2 to $10.5 million; widen U.S. 33 from Hamilton Road to eastbound I-270 from four to six lanes both directions, $55.3 to $70.7 million; extend Winchester Boulevard one lane each direction from Kroger west, $19.2 to $24.6 million; one lane each direction Canal Winchester’s High Street at U.S. 33, $24.8 to $31.8 million; add/modify turn lanes Winchester Pike at Bixby/Brice roads, (slated for 2016), $5 million; Rickenbacker Parkway extension from Ashville Pike to Pontius Road, $18 to $23.1 million; add/modify turn lanes Gender Road at Groveport Road, $1.2 to $1.5 million; add/modify turn lanes on Groveport Road at Groveport Park entrance, $600,000 to $700,000; add turn lanes on Groveport Road from Swisher Road to State Route 317, $8.3 million to $10.6 million; construct a roundabout at Hill Road at Basil-Western Road, $2.5 million; add/ modify turn lanes on State Route 317 at Venture Place/Homer Ohio Lane, $700,000 to $1 million; add complete street facilities to Refugee/Chatterton roads from Big Walnut Trail to Dunloe Road, $300,000 to $400,000; add complete street facilities to State Route 317 from Alum Creek Drive to U.S. 23, $2.8 to $3.6 million; and add complete street facilities to State Route 317 from Groveport Road to Blacklick Creek Trail.
•Bike path/multi-use trails: Big Walnut Trail from Groveport Road south to Hamilton Road south of Refugee Road, $4.9 to $6.2 million; Big Walnut Trail from State Route 317 to Groveport Road, $5 to $6.4 million; Little Walnut Creek Trail from London-Lancaster Road to Richardson Road, $4.6 to $5.9 million; Little Walnut Creek Trail from Richardson Road to Gender Road, $3.5 to $4.4 million; multi-use path Refugee Road from Winchester Pike to Hamilton Road (slated for 2020), $4.4 million; multi-use path Hamilton Road from Blacklick Trail to Refugee Road, $4.7 to $6.1 million; Little Walnut Creek Trail from Gender Road to Carroll-Northern Road, $5.1 to $6.5 million; and Big Walnut Trail from Franklin/Pickaway county line to State Route 317, $3.2 to $4.1 million.
An interactive map regarding the proposed roadway projects can be viewed at www.morpc.org/mtp2040 or a copy of the map can be requested by calling (614) 233-4157.
Recommended transit, pedestrian and bikeway projects are still under review.
Comments can be submitted on the interactive map by email to email@example.com or in writing to MORPC, 111 Liberty St., Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43215, Attn: Thea Walsh.
MORPC will hold a public open house regarding the proposed projects on March 15 from 4-7 p.m. at 111 Liberty St., Suite 100, Columbus. The plan is up for adoption by MORPC in May.