Next Phase of 70/71 Work to Start, Future Phases Now Funded
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) held a press event yesterday to mark the start of construction on the latest phase of Columbus Crossroads, the official name of the Interstate 70/71 split project.
Also announced was a more certain future for the next three phases of the multipart effort, thanks to the recently-passed state transportation budget.
“Without the funding provided in House Bill 62, these phases could have been delayed for years or permanently put on hold,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks in a statement. “These next three phases are essential pieces of the puzzle and will make a meaningful reduction in traffic crashes through this notoriously congested stretch of interstate.”
Phase 2E is the portion of the project that is beginning now. It is expected to take two-and-a-half years and cost about $80 million. Here are the different elements of that phase, according to information provided by ODOT:
- Reconstruct and widen I-70 East from South Fourth Street to Miller Avenue
- Build a new ramp from East Fulton Street to I-70 East
- Build a new ramp from I-70 East to Parsons Avenue
- Reconstruct Mooberry Street from Parsons Avenue to South 18th Street
- Reconstruct East Fulton Street from South Third Street to South Fourth Street
- Construct eight retaining walls
The next three phases after that are now considered funded and are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024, at a cost of about $253 million. Work will begin in 2020 on Phase 3B and Phase 4R, and in 2021 on Phase 6R.
Phase 3B will include a new East Broad Street bridge, two new feeder roads on either side of I-71 (Lester Drive and Elijah Pierce Avenue) and a redesigned I-71 between East Broad Street and East Long Street.
Phase 4R will include a new South Front Street bridge, a new ramp from I-70 eastbound to West Fulton Street and a new bridge over Short Street.
Phase 6R will included a reconstructed West Mound Street and a new ramp from West Mound Street to I-71 southbound, allowing for two continuous lanes through Downtown on both I-70 and I-71.
The new transportation budget, with its gas tax increase of 10.5 cents per gallon, will go into effect in early July. The legislation also provides $70 million in state funding for Ohio’s 61 public transit systems, which is double the current investment but still well short of what Ohio’s neighboring states provide, and less than the $150 million recommended by the MOVE Ohio coalition.
For more information, see www.dot.state.oh.us.