State to invest $8 million in ‘The Point’

By D. Anthony Botkin - [email protected]

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is investing an additional $400 million into new road improvement projects throughout the state over the next four years. The Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) approved the final funding list Nov. 6 during a meeting held in Columbus.

Eight million dollars, committed for fiscal year 2022, will go to the much-needed widening of the U.S. Route 36/state Route 37 intersection and the replacement of the railroad bridge at “The Point” in Delaware. Another $10 million, committed for fiscal year 2021, will go to the construction of the new interchange south of the Interstate 71 and US 36/SR 37 intersection.

According to the TRAC 2020-2023 spreadsheet, the estimated total cost for “The Point” road improvements project is $32.4 million which consists of $3 million in funding from ODOT, $9.5 million from TRAC ($1.5 million previously approved), and another $19.9 million coming from other funding sources.

“The project is sponsored by the City of Delaware,” said Matt Bruning, ODOT Central Office press secretary.

Earlier this year, the city submitted a request to ODOT to move the project from TIER II, the development phase, to TIER I.

“The project moved up because it is ready to advance to construction,” Bruning said.

The project, once completed, will remove the “notorious bottleneck” allowing for greater connectivity from I-71 to the U.S. Route 23 and U.S. Route 42 corridors, and improved traffic safety along the statewide corridor.

The new southern interchange on I-71, which will loop around to connect to Wilson Road behind Tanger Outlets, is estimated at a total cost of $31.9 million, with $21.9 million in local funding along with the additional $10 million from TRAC funding.

“Construction is to begin in 2024,” said Breanna Badanes, ODOT Central Ohio public information officer.

A remaining part of the I-71, US 36/SR 37 intersection road improvements is the construction of a new interchange at Big Walnut Road and the widening of I-71, which still remains in TIER II. The estimated $67.4 million project has received $3.6 million in funding from ODOT and $33.8 million in local funding, leaving $30 million still needed to move it toward the construction phase.

“The project sponsors are still in the preliminary stages of development and have not requested funding from TRAC,” Burning said.

According to Badanes, the project is sponsored by the Delaware County Engineer’s Office.

The investment is a direct result of the transportation budget approved by the Ohio General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine last April, according to a press release from ODOT.

“As Ohio’s economy continues to grow, we must be able to address the demands put on our roads and bridges,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. “These funds allow us to eliminate pinch points, reduce congestion, and make our roads and bridges safer for moving people and goods across Ohio.”

Receiving 27 applications for development or construction of transportation projects totaling nearly $925 million, TRAC held a series of hearings around the state to learn about each of the applications. Last month, the board approved a draft list and opened a public comment period.

The Ohio General Assembly established TRAC in 1997, charging it with developing and overseeing a project selection process for major new transportation capacity projects that cost more than $12 million. Since 1998, TRAC has invested nearly $11 billion into Ohio’s infrastructure.

By D. Anthony Botkin

[email protected]

Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.

Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.