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The I-70/71 corridor: Wrecks waiting to happen

Walker Evans Walker Evans The I-70/71 corridor: Wrecks waiting to happen
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The Columbus Dispatch wroteThe I-70/71 corridor: Where wrecks are waiting to happen

Monday, October 29, 2007

By Suzanne Hoholik

According to a Dispatch analysis, a two-vehicle rear-ender on a clear, dry day — is the most common of the 830 wrecks that happen on average every year in the corridor that includes I-71 from 5th Avenue south to Greenlawn Avenue and I-70 from 18th Street west to Mound Street.

Thom Slack, managing engineer at the Ohio Department of Transportation, and other officials have studied the area for years, trying to come up with a fix. The one they chose will cost about $800 million — one of the most expensive road projects in Ohio history — and will take as long as five years to complete. Work is set to begin in 2011.

Eventually, the project will create five lanes in each direction — two dedicated to I-71 traffic, two to I-70 traffic and a single center lane for both. The leg of I-71 between I-70 and I-670 will expand to three lanes in both directions.

In the four years until construction starts, more than 3,300 crashes can be expected along the stretch, causing millions of dollars in hospital and repair bills, thousands of hours of traffic delays and several deaths.

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