WALDO — Delaware County residents who take U.S. Route 23 to and from Marion County noticed a change in their commute on Monday.
“The US 23 southbound ramp to State Route 98 will close starting Monday, July 26 as part of the US 23 bridge deck replacement project at SR 98,” the Ohio Department of Transportation stated in a news release last week. “The ramp will be closed until October 2021, weather permitting, for reconstruction.”
That means US 23 northbound and southbound on SR 98 is being reduced to one lane in both directions.
“Southbound traffic will be shifted to the northbound side using median crossovers and one lane of traffic will be maintained in both directions,” ODOT said. “This traffic pattern will be in effect until Fall 2021 as crews replace the southbound bridges.”
The existing concrete bridge decks on US 23 over SR 98 and the Qu Qua Creek are being replaced, with restrictions through Aug. 13, ODOT announced.
Route 23 is part of a “Delaware Regional Connection Study” being undertaken by ODOT, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. They are seeking a free-flowing connection from Toledo to Columbus. The route already has 30% more traffic than it was meant to have, ODOT said, creating more congestion and crashes. Improvements on US 23 through Delaware County between Waldo and Interstate 270 in Franklin County are part of the study.
The first of several rounds of public meetings regarding US 23 took place earlier this month and will go into late next year.
Further south on US 23, all lanes at I-270 were recently assigned an exit and signage upgrades as part of a safety project that ran from March to June.
Further north on US 23, pavement repairs, resurfacing and guardrail updates are being made from SR 95 to the Marion/Wyandot county line and the Linn Hipsher road intersection. The project is said to continue through August.
Returning to Delaware County, the intersection of state Route 61 and state Route 656/Wilson Road will continue to be closed by ODOT through August to construct a roundabout. There is a detour at U.S. Route 36/state Route 3. Also, state Route 257 south of Butts Road is closed through Friday for culvert replacement. The detour is state Route 750/US 23/US Route 42.
Lastly, I-71 at Polaris Parkway and Gemini Place to I-270 will have nightly lane restrictions for resurfacing through Friday.
In other ODOT news, last week the agency officially began an $88 million project to reconstruct I-70 through Zanesville, which includes resurfacing the bridges over the Licking River. The pavement is 25 years old. Traffic will be maintained throughout, but expect narrower lanes, different traffic patterns, and work zone speed limits. The project will be completed in fall of 2027.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.