ODOT to talk parkway plans


SUNBURY — The Ohio Department of Transportation is planning to have a public meeting regarding the proposed Sunbury Parkway this spring or summer.

The announcement was made in a newsletter issued last month by ODOT to “reintroduce the public to this important interchange improvement project.”

The $31.9 million project is called “Improved Interchange at Interstate 71 and U.S. Route 36/State Route 37 and Proposed Sunbury Parkway” by ODOT, which presented the option in 2016.

The option was intended to reduce congestion along routes 36/37, eliminate backups on I-71, improve east-west connectivity, and support future growth in the county. The idea was to build a combined interchange to the south for alternative access to routes 36/37. It would provide access to a newly constructed roadway from Africa Road to West Cherry Street and would extend Wilson Road south to the proposed Sunbury Parkway.

“When ODOT completed project development in 2017, the section of Sunbury Parkway from Wilson Road east to the City of Sunbury and the extension of Wilson Road were expected to be constructed using private funds,” the newsletter said. “The private development has not progressed as expected and private funding is no longer anticipated. Recognizing the need for these improvements, ODOT intends to advance them using public funds, and therefore will re-evaluate studies and conduct additional public involvement.”

ODOT, along with Berkshire Township, the City of Sunbury, and Delaware County, are working on a revised feasibility study. Sunbury established a Parkway District Plan Steering Committee.

“This study includes evaluating alignments for the Sunbury Parkway and Wilson Road Extension Area; updating traffic analyses; and identifying ecological resources, historic resources, and the potential for noise impacts within the study area,” ODOT said.

Once the draft feasibility study is completed, it will be presented to the public in-person and virtually, so it can weigh in on the alternatives, findings and recommendations. ODOT said the recommended preferred alternative would be announced later in the summer (with a public comment period), and the final decision announced in the winter. As funding is obtained, design and construction phases would be announced.

The project website is located at https://publicinput.com/sunburyparkway. The site includes the original feasibility study, dated 2012-2014, the 2016 alternatives report, and the 2017 environmental assessment.

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at [email protected].

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