Those whose commute to and from the city of Delaware may have noticed some changes along U.S. Route 23.
“All lanes of US 23 south at I-270 on the North Side are now open in a new configuration that gives each exit its own lane,” the Ohio Department of Transportation District 6 posted on Facebook Thursday. “In addition, large, upgraded signage is in place to make it easier for drivers to choose the proper lane.”
The project was described on the ODOT website as “US Route 23 North Side Sign Upgrades.” The traffic control/safety project began in March and cost an estimated $650,000.
But that’s not all that is going on with US 23.
The “Route 23 Connect: Delaware Regional Connection Study” will have public meetings starting in two weeks. Three agencies — ODOT, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments — are seeking “a free-flowing connection between the Columbus and Toledo Regions.” The idea is to solidify Columbus’ position as a regional, national, and international logistics hub.
An important piece of the puzzle is the study, said ODOT, “which will evaluate different options for improvements through Delaware County between Waldo in Marion County and I-270 in Franklin County. These options include the evaluation of options to the east or west of Route 23’s current path through the center of Delaware County.”
ODOT said US 23 currently has 30% more traffic than it was meant to have. “This has caused increased congestion, unpredictable travel times, bottlenecks, and higher crash rates. Without major improvements, delays will only grow.”
The overall plan is to have three online surveys and four rounds of public meetings, continuing into 2022. “If it is determined that improvements must be made, further study of a recommended solution will begin in late 2022,” ODOT said.
The first round of meetings are at noon and 5 p.m. on July 7, 13 and 14. The meetings are being divided by six communities — Prospect and Waldo in Marion County; Ashley and Marengo; the city of Delaware; Ostrander and Marysville; Powell and Columbus; and Sunbury and Westerville — “due to the large geographic area and population affected by US 23, the study area has been divided into smaller groups.”
However, ODOT is saying “the same information will be presented at each. Feel free to attend whichever fits your schedule.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.