Pushing for safety improvements at Rte. 42 and I-70

(Posted June 6, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

County officials and the Madison County Chamber of Commerce are putting their support behind possible safety improvements along U.S. Route 42 at the I-70 interchange.

“This section of Route 42 has a long history of congestion and crashes due to multiple conflicting access points and lack of turn lanes,” said Bryan Dhume, Madison County engineer.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is scheduled in 2021 to reconstruct pavement and improve roadside and subsurface drainage on Route 42 between the Speedway gas station and Pilot Travel Center. As part of that project, the department wants to add a center turn lane and better align driveways to businesses in the area.

ODOT is applying for federal highway safety funds to cover the costs of the turn lane addition and driveway alignments. The funding is not guaranteed as departments across the state are competing for the funds, Dhume said.

The committee that awards federal highway safety dollars takes local support into consideration. To this end, Dhume has written a letter to Mitch Blackford, deputy director of ODOT District 6, declaring support for the safety improvements at 42 and I-70. Blackford will include the letter with ODOT’s funding application.

Dhume secured the signatures of Madison County commissioners David Hunter and Mark Forrest, as well as David Kell, executive director of the Chamber. He said he hopes that government officials in Deercreek Township, the city of London, and the village of West Jefferson will submit similar letters of support.

“Ongoing commercial and industrial development in the village of West Jefferson and city of London continues to place increasing pressure on the interchange,” Dhume writes in the letter. “In addition, Madison County is in the process of extending water service to this area, with completion planned in 18-24 months. We anticipate the resulting additional development will cause further congestion and higher crash rates if safety improvements are not made in the same time period.”

ODOT should know in the next couple of weeks whether it received the safety funding, Dhume said.

In other business, Dhume announced at the June 4 county commissioners’ meeting that he was able to move up replacement of the bridge on Rosedale Milford Road, north of Thomas Road in Monroe Township. Originally, the project was slated for 2022. Dhume has secured federal funding that will be available this July, allowing the project to get under way as early as this fall.

The entire 110-foot long bridge is deteriorated, Dhume said, from the steel beams to the timber decking. As a result, the Engineer’s Office has lowered the bridge’s weigh limit twice. Vehicles crossing the bridge are now limited to 11 tons, effectively preventing loaded trucks and farm equipment from using the bridge. The truck detour is State Route 38 to State Route 161.

“For local farmers, it’s the most inconvenience because there’s no great way around it,” Dhume said.

The estimated cost for engineering and construction is $861,650. The Engineer’s Office will advertise for bids and contract out the work. Once started, the project will take two to three months to complete, Dhume said.

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