Governor Dewine Announces Transportation Investment in Central Ohio
The new budget bill, House Bill 62, was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor DeWine earlier this month. The bill will generate approximately $828.5 million a year in additional funding for maintenance projects and important safety upgrades on roads throughout Ohio.
The Central Ohio projects include three future phases of the Columbus Crossroads project that will reconfigure the I-70/I-71 interchange through downtown Columbus to decrease congestion and reduce crashes. Several phases of the project are already finished, but the new funding ensures that the entire project will eventually be complete.
“This interchange was built in the 1960s, and Columbus has long outgrown it,” DeWine said. “Right now, drivers are traveling on a highway system that wasn’t built to handle the number of cars that travel in and out of Columbus today. Now that we know the Columbus Crossroads project will proceed as planned, we can look forward to a safer interchange in the future.”
The next three phases of the Columbus Crossroads reconstruction and reconfiguration plan include:
• Reconstruction and Widening of I-71 from Broad Street to Long Street
This $43.8-million project is expected to begin in about a year. This project also widens part of I-71 northbound and replaces the Broad Street Bridge to make it more pedestrian-friendly and to reconnect neighborhoods that were separated when the interstate was built.
• Reconstruction of I-70 Eastbound and I-71 Northbound
This $103.6-million project is expected to begin in about two years. The project includes building a new ramp from 70 east to Fulton Street to create a new eastbound gateway to downtown. The project also replaces the Front Street Bridge. At the completion of this phase, there will be two continuous I-71 north lanes through downtown.
• Reconstruction I-70 Westbound and I-71 Southbound
This $107.2-million project will begin in approximately three years. This phase will construct a new ramp from Mound Street to 70 west and a new ramp from Mound Street to 71 south.
“Without the funding provided in House Bill 62, these phases could have been delayed for years or permanently put on hold,” said Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks. “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.”
The announcement was made at a gathering to launch the construction of the current phase of the I-70/I-71 Columbus Crossroads project. The current phase will reconstruct and widen I-70 east from Fourth Street to Miller Avenue. It will also construct a new ramp from I-70 east to Parsons Avenue to provide improved, safer access to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and near-eastside neighborhoods.
The projects have all been reviewed and approved by the nonpartisan Transportation Review and Advisory Committee. Construction of the current phase is expected to take 2.5 years and cost about $80 million. Construction of the next three phases of the Crossroads projects is expected to be completed by the end of 2024 and cost $253 million.