The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently posted on its Route 23 Connect: Delaware Regional Connection Study web page that no official recommendation or announcement concerning the results of the study has been made. The post contradicts information shared by a local grassroots campaign called No-Hwy.com.
On Jan. 31, the No-Hwy.com team issued a statement saying it was pleased that a November 2021 preliminary feasibility study draft recommended concept C1 only for further study. C1 would add through lanes, limiting access with service roads, and adding or modifying interchanges on the existing U.S. 23 corridor. The study, which seeks a quicker route from Toledo to Columbus through Delaware County, was prepared by ms consultants for ODOT. Ten advantages to C1 were listed, including improved travel times, safety, congestion relief, and lower impact to resources.
“This concept is the only concept that does not involve building a new bypass highway through rural, undeveloped portions of Delaware County,” No-Hwy.com said in its statement. Other concepts being considered are two on the western side of the county and three on the eastern side.
No-Hwy.com said it realizes this was not a final decision, but the group fully supported advancing concept C1.
“No-Hwy.com will continue to closely monitor the progression of the Route 23 Connect Study in its efforts to preserve prime farmland and the integrity of our rural communities,” the statement concluded.
ODOT officials swiftly responded to the statement. They have said there will be multiple drafts of the feasibility study, and a recommendation will be finalized this summer. ODOT said it is still gathering feedback.
ODOT said in an update on its website, “We understand that a local grassroots campaign recently announced that ODOT had recommended to advance the C1 concept only. In an effort to remain transparent and address any misinformation, we want to make it clear that the announcement did not come from ODOT and is not accurate.”
ODOT went on to say, “Though the draft document prematurely included a conclusion, it’s important to note that the document is incomplete. It was prepared prior to completion of the current round of public meetings and does not consider all of the important feedback received during this round.”
People can still comment on the study, ODOT said.
“Most importantly, we want you to know that your feedback is valued. While we have received thousands of comments thus far, there’s still time to submit your thoughts. All comments carry equal weight, whether submitted in writing or verbally, and whether submitted early in the comment period or on the last day. The comment period remains open through February 28.”
The page concluded, “For additional study information, please visit: https://publicinput.com/23connect.”
In response to what they called “ODOT misinformation,” the No-Hwy team then issued a six-point refutation on Feb. 7. In conclusion, No-Hwy.com said it stands “by its previous statement … in support of the advancement of concept C1.”