Study will research safety issues and traffic congestion on U.S. Route 33

By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Those who drive U.S. Route 33 on a daily basis know traffic congestion on that highway is a common, often frustrating, occurrence.

Now, another study is being planned to research what to do about the traffic problems and safety issues on U.S. Route 33 in southeastern Franklin County.

Ohio Department of Transportation Public Information Officer for Central Ohio Breanna Badanes said the last study of this stretch of U.S. Route 33 was done in 2004 and there have been various improvements to the roadway since then. She said this new study will review U.S. Route 33 from State Route 104 east to Pickerington Road.

Badanes said the study, which is expected to be released by April 2021, will include safety and improvements recommendations for the U.S. Route 33 corridor and interchanges. The study will evaluate safety issues, traffic volume, traffic congestion, capacity, interchanges, ramps, and traffic counts.

“We are still seeing crash patterns and traffic congestion on this stretch of U.S. 33,” said Badanes.

She said interchanges that could be looked at for potential updates and modifications include U.S. 33 at: I-270; at Hamilton Road; at Gender Road; at Bixby Road; and at Hill/Diley.

Badanes said “nothing is out of the question” for consideration for improvements.

“Everything will be looked at,” she said, including things like interchange redesigns, widening U.S. 33, and smaller cost effective ideas such as ramp metering and smart lanes during peak travel times.

Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst said, “They’ve been studying this corridor for the last 20 years. The Hamilton Road interchange is an old style cloverleaf configuration. It’s possible ODOT could consider some radical and different changes there, like constructing flyovers.”

“Proposed improvements like that would be exciting,” said Groveport City Councilman Chad Grashel.

Citing concerns about frequent traffic back-ups and accidents at the Hamilton Road/U.S. 33 interchange, Groveport City Councilman Ed Dildine said, “That interchange is just not safe. It needs an overhaul.”

ODOT recently completed a project that widened U.S. Route 33 in both directions between Hamilton Road and I-270 creating three travel lanes for both east and westbound travel on U.S. 33. The project also widened bridges over Big Walnut Creek.

Noise walls were constructed with one 15-foot high noise wall on the outside shoulder of U.S. 33 eastbound between the Big Walnut Creek bridge and west of Hamilton Road and a 19-foot high noise wall on the right-of-way fence along U.S. 33 westbound east of the Hamilton Road interchange. Repairs were also made to the Gender Road bridge over U.S. 33.

This $14 million project was completed in late 2019. Its purpose was to improve travel and safety on U.S. 33 between I-270 and Hamilton Road and to decrease congestion.

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