COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Transportation’s Transportation Advisory Council (TRAC) gave final approval last week to its annual list of projects to receive more than $292 million in funding over the next four years.
A couple of those projects are based in Delaware County.
First is $8 million committed for detailed design of U.S. Route 36/state Route 37 (widening of the roads and replacement of the railroad bridge at the point) in fiscal year 2023. This $32.4 million project, according to ODOT’s Final 2022-2025 Major New Construction Program List, is fully-funded, with $9.5 million total from TAC, $3 million from ODOT and $19.9 million in local funding.
Second is $10 million committed for right-of-way acquisition in fiscal year 2024 on the US 36/SR 37/Interstate 71 project’s Phase A: construction of new interchange south of existing interchange. The $31.9 million project is fully-funded, with the other $21.9 million coming from local funding.
Third is $2 million committed for a US 23 corridor study (evaluation of a connection between US 23 and I-71) in fiscal year 2022. If it were to be constructed as estimated, the cost could reach $1.2 billion. The remainder has not been funded.
Last is $1 million committed for detailed design of the extension of the proposed Sunbury Parkway in 2022; and $4 million in right-of-way acquisition in fiscal year 2024. This project would cost $51.2 million, with $46.2 million currently unfunded. The road would be in the area of routes 36/37 and I-71.
One Delaware County-based project that did not receive TRAC funding was for the Big Walnut Interchange. The $67.4 million project would consist of the construction of a new interchange at Big Walnut Road and the widening of I-71. The project funding plan has $30 million currently unfunded, with $3.6 million from ODOT and $33.8 million in local funding.
TRAC-funded projects were paused last year due to the drop in traffic volume, resulting in a decline in motor fuel tax revenue. Altogether, there were 57 applications submitted this year, requesting $551 million in funding.
The nine-member council was established in 1997 to help ODOT determine construction projects in three tiers on an annual application cycle. Tier I are projects recommended for construction over the next four years, Tier II projects require additional activities before construction (such as preliminary engineering, detailed design, right-of-way acquisition), and Tier III projects had its previous phases funded over a longer period of time.
The first two projects — US 36/SR 37 and US 36/SR 37/I-71 — were considered to be Tier I construction commitments; the corridor study and I-71/Big Walnut Road projects were listed as Tier II development commitments; and the two-phase extension of Sunbury Parkway was considered a Tier III development commitment.
“As traffic volumes increase, we will continue to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks, in a news release. “Ohio’s economy is growing. Safe, accessible, and well-maintained transportation infrastructure is key to sustaining that economic growth and improving the quality of life for Ohioans.”
“Our economy depends on smart investments that make our transportation system safe and efficient,” said Gov. Mike DeWine in the same news news release. “The projects approved today will keep our economy moving forward.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.