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Broad Street Ramps to Close, Future Phase of 70/71 Project Delayed

Brent Warren Brent Warren Broad Street Ramps to Close, Future Phase of 70/71 Project DelayedRenderings from 2014 show what the new Broad Street bridge will look like. Courtesy of ODOT.
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Two ramps that connect I-71 to Broad Street Downtown will close permanently on April 9 – the I-71 South exit to Broad Street and the Broad Street onramp to I-71 North.

The other two Broad Street ramps are due to close later in the year. All of the closing will be permanent, part of the larger re-arranging of the Downtown highways that is known as the I-70/71 split.

Although this portion of the project is continuing to move forward, future phases are already being impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced on March 25 that Phase 4R of the project – which includes a new South Front Street bridge, a new ramp from I-70 eastbound to West Fulton Street and a new bridge over Short Street – is now scheduled to start in 2021 instead of later this year, as originally planned.

In a statement announcing the change in the project’s schedule, ODOT acknowledged that the near future will likely bring a “significant decrease in revenue generated from the Motor Fuel Tax,” and that could potentially lead to more delays or changes; “we will continue to monitor revenue projections and will make adjustments as necessary.”  

Statistics published daily on ODOT’s website show a significant decline in traffic on Central Ohio’s highways since the first week of March. Ohio declared a State of Emergency on March 10, Columbus reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 14, and the state’s Stay at Home order went into effect on March 24.

This chart shows the decline in daily traffic on just one Franklin County highway – I-670. Source: ODOT

In other transportation news, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is moving ahead with its Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which establishes transportation priorities for the region for the next 30 years. An interactive map is now online which allows for comments to be submitted directly on individual projects.

Also now open for comment is ODOT’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan, which focuses on multi-modal transportation improvement projects that are scheduled for the next four years.  

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