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Work Begins on Mound Street Connector, Next Phase of 70/71 Split

Brent Warren Brent Warren Work Begins on Mound Street Connector, Next Phase of 70/71 SplitRendering via ODOT.
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Construction began this past weekend on the Mound Street Connector, the latest phase in the multi-year Interstate 70-71 split project. According to ODOT, parts of I-70 west from the Miller-Kelton exit to 4th Street were closed overnight from Sunday through Thursday while crews install signs and concrete barriers along that stretch of the intersection, although the lanes will reopen each morning at 5am. Starting on the morning of Friday, July 12th, there will be two lanes open on I-70 west from 18th Street to 4th Street.

Today, work begins on re-connecting Mound Street between 5th Street and Grant Avenue – a key part of the plan to establish Mound as a one-way collector street bringing west-bound traffic into Downtown from I-70. Traffic will flow into Downtown from a new “fly-over” bridge that will connect the freeway to Mound Street where it currently intersects with Washington Street. Once the Mound Street Connector is open, which ODOT is estimating will be in the fall of 2014, the 4th Street exit from I-70 west will close.

The new section of Mound will run just north of the Americana and Market Mohawk apartment complexes, where there are currently two surface parking lots. A strip of parking spaces in the lots will be blocked off on Monday in preparation for the construction of the new road, and the 5th Street entrance to one of the lots will be closed permanently.

Also being affected by this phase of construction is the on-ramp to I-70 east and I-71 north from Fulton Street – it will be permanently closed on July 22nd.

Streetscape and bridge designs were unveiled in early 2012 during an ODOT public meeting. The re-constructed Mound Street will include new landscaping, on-street parking, and a bike lane. A new 18th Street bridge, which is also included in this phase of the project, will feature street lights and wrought-iron fencing.

All of the work beginning now and related to the Mound Street Connector is considered Phase 2C of the larger 70-71 split project; Phase 2D is scheduled to start in 2014 and will include further work on Mound Street (west of 4th Street), as well as new exit ramps to Parsons Avenue, new bridges at Main, Grant and 4th Streets, and work on Fulton Street – which will eventually serve as the east-bound collector road for downtown.

More information on the 70/71 Split is available at www.dot.state.oh.us/projects/7071/.

For more discussion and updates on the Mound Street Connector, CLICK HERE to visit our messageboard.

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  • columbusmike

    Kind of embarrassing we’re still building spaghetti bowls around our downtown’s, segregating our neighborhoods and destroying the character of urban environments.

  • CalebR

    @columbusmike: It isn’t embarrassing. It needs to be done, yes I support alternative transportation, but we also need to have a balance set in place and the highway system through downtown is vital to that. And if anything the purpose of this highway project is not only to rebuild the highways but also increase neighborhood connectivity and to make it seem as the highways aren’t there. I think you nee to reevaluate these projects.

  • joshlapp

    The small amount that ODOT has done to reconnect the neighborhoods has been a bare minimum of appeasement in order to get cooperation from the city. ODOT is replacing 12 bridges and we are getting a total of ONE cap.

    If the opposition to the project would have been better organized at the time, I wish we could have eliminated the stretch of 70/71 South of Downtown and rerouted the traffic.

  • jpizzow

    Building landscaped overpasses and art walls will do little to “reconnect” our neighborhoods. Sure, the project will alleviate some traffic, probably marginally. In the end, we are still spending over a billion, A BILLION, dollars to end up with higher, more visible highways and a wider trench separating our neighborhoods. It has been said that capping the highway through downtown would have been too expensive. I say the extra cost would have been worth it when taking into consideration the increased property values, tax revenues and overall livability of the adjacent areas. Unfortunately, our DOT’s didn’t take courses in city building. Besides, many of those travelers from Chicago or Cinci or Cleveland or Pittsburgh or wherever wouldn’t have to drive through that mess if they had the option of hopping on a train in the first place.

  • Pickerington_Kyle

    Or destroy the inner-belt and create a massive subway system?

  • InnerCore

    @CalebR: Columbus is the largest city without rail. How on earth is spending more money on highways helping in having a balanced system?

  • cmhcow

    @InnerCore – A lot of people (I call them legislators) aren’t looking for balance. They are looking for more roads.

  • Innercore, I tend to agree with you, I’ve also not lived my life in a Columbus bubble. The last time I was in Chicago they had major highways cutting through their inner city, same for every other major city I’ve ever been to. Columbus is hardly unique in its building of highways. I get it. We don’t have rail. We need it. If we get rail would that be the thing that made you love us? Or if we build the project in your head? I’m not an advocate of complacency, I also don’t advocate pessimism.

  • InnerCore

    @zp945: I responding to a statement that we need a BALANCED system. Again, we are the largest city without rail. Of course cities have highways. But its seems very irresponsible to be spending more money to build highways when you don’t even have a rail option. Especially when the latest rail option would have been $100 million and you’re spending $1B on a downtown highway interchange.

    So basically once this interchange is complete, you just going to have more people say “look, it’s easier to get downtown, no need for rail”.

  • columbusmike


    Most likely, you’ll have people saying, “why did they spend all this money and I’m still sitting in traffic?”

  • columbusmike


    “The last time I was in Chicago they had major highways cutting through their inner city, same for every other major city I’ve ever been to”

    You meant to say, every other major “American” city you’ve ever been to.

  • InnerCore

    @columbusmike: Exactly! You can NEVER do away with traffic. Because if you create larger and larger freeways then you only create an incentive for more and more people to drive.

    If traffic get better then more people are going to say, “why pay more to live in the urban areas when I can easily get around by car”. Not to mention that our Highway system isn’t paid for by just the people who use it. So basically you are subsidizing the transportation cost for people to live in the suburbs.

    Why not say ok you want to live in lewis center and drive into downtown, OK, then pay for it. Then all of a sudden that $250k 3 bedroom house out in the suburbs would cost $750k.

    But people want their cake and eat it to. And the funny thing is these are usually the people screaming about fiscal responsibility.

  • columbusmike


    Yes, our country has made the suburban dream possible with subsidized road construction, tax incentives, low mortgages for new homes, etc, etc, etc. I have no doubt that if other countries also subsidized suburban sprawl, they’d be doing the same dumb things as us. Fortunately, they didn’t and we have stunning examples of high-quality urban living that we have yet to acknowledge in this country.

    Fortunately, or unfortunately, gas prices (or inability to finance road construction, suburban schools, etc) will eventually make urban or rural living a necessity — none of this suburban in-between stuff will be possible unless you’re very, very rich…but even then, the very rich will not want to live in the suburban poverty.

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