Tuesday is not only Election Day, but it is also the start of building a new exit ramp from the U.S. 23-Pennsylvania Avenue interchange southbound to Sandusky Street.
The ramp will be closed at 9 a.m. March 15 and remain closed until Labor Day, states a traffic advisory from the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The U.S. 23 northbound entrance ramp will remain open, and no reconstruction of the bridge over 23 is required. “Pennsylvania Avenue traffic traveling north to U.S. 23 will continue to use the existing bridge and entrance ramp,” states the city of Delaware’s website.
“The project will remove the existing U.S. 23 southbound exit, and extend North Sandusky Street from Pennsylvania Avenue to U.S. 23,” said ODOT spokeswoman Breanna Badanes. “We’ll also construct a new ramp to enter U.S. 23 South and exit U.S. 23 North.”
When it re-opens, hopefully in time for the county fair, the ramp will accommodate two-way traffic on Sandusky Street to U.S. 23 with a new signalized, at-grade intersection. “Additionally, U.S. 23 northbound traffic will have a turn lane and traffic signal to access North Sandusky Street,” the ODOT advisory said.
“The city of Delaware designed the $2.4 million project, but ODOT is administering the construction,” Badanes said.
“The U.S. 23/Pennsylvania Avenue interchange was built in the 1960s as a partial movement interchange to save costs and promote traffic through the downtown,” states the city’s website. “As traffic volume has increased over the years, this interchange has become inadequate to move traffic safely and efficiently. This configuration does not allow northbound U.S. 23 traffic to exit onto Pennsylvania Avenue and traffic from Pennsylvania Avenue cannot enter southbound U.S. 23.”
The interchange improvements were selected after analysis and public input in 2006.
“The partial-access interchange is unsafe and inefficient,” said Lee Yoakum, the city’s community affairs coordinator. “This project will fix that and provide full access for the first time in more than 50 years.”
In addition to U.S. 23/Pennsylvania Avenue, there are several other ODOT projects in the county.
Starting today, Interstate 71 north will be reduced to two lanes between Gemini Parkway and U.S. 36/37 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for shifting lanes. Also, Sawmill Parkway will be reduced to one southbound lane at State Route 750 beginning at 7 a.m. for road widening.
There are also two ongoing projects involving bridge work over I-71 — Kilbourne Road is closed between state routes 61 and 521; and Galena Road is closed over the interstate.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.