The Ohio Department of Transportation’s U.S. Route 23 Corridor Study has attracted enough interest to have the comment period extended, as well as opposition formed to at least some of the proposed alternatives.
Signs have been popping up around Delaware County that read, “NO US 23 CONNECTOR THROUGH PRIME FARMLAND.” There is also a website, www.nohwy.com, which said it wishes to preserve the land.
On Dec. 30, the Kingston Township Board of Trustees sent out a special newsletter to its residents. Trustees said they felt it was important to highlight the U.S. 23 Corridor Study since two of the six alternatives proposed by ODOT “could have a significant impact on the heart of Kingston Township and potentially you or your neighbor’s property.”
ODOT’s $2 million Route 23 study seeks to improve traffic flow from Toledo to Columbus by looking at the area between Waldo in Marion County to Interstate 270. The study is being managed by ODOT District 6 in Delaware. Two alternatives would impact the west side of Delaware County, one would primarily impact U.S. 23 itself, and three would impact the east side of the county.
According to ODOT, alternative W1 is a western connection that would build a new freeway from U.S. 23 to U.S. Route 33; and use U.S. 33 to connect to I-270. Alternative W2 is a western connection that would build a new freeway from U.S. 23 to U.S. Route 42; upgrade U.S. 42 to U.S. 33; and use U.S. 33 to connect to I-270.
The C1 concept is called an upgraded alignment of U.S. 23. It would consist of 11 new and/or modified interchanges; limited access with service roads; and additional through-lanes.
There are three eastern connection concepts. E1 would be a new freeway from U.S. 23 to Interstate 71; and use I-71 to connect to I-270. E2 would be a new freeway from U.S. 23 to U.S. Route 36/state Route 37; use 36/37 to connect to I-71; and use I-71 to connect to I-270. E3 would use U.S. 23 to state Route 229; build a new freeway from S.R. 229 to I-71; and use I-71 to connect to I-270.
Kingston trustees said in the newsletter that both concepts E1 and E3 could change “the character of our neighborhoods and result in the loss of prime farmland/open space forever.” The trustees said the grass roots opposition group N0-Hwy.com is “adamantly opposed to construction of a new freeway, they appear to support Alternative C-1 which improves flow through the U.S. 23 corridor for commercial traffic and saves the rural community.”
Public comments can be made at the ODOT website: https://publicinput.com/23connect. Originally, comments were only going to be accepted until Dec. 13, but due to interest, that period has been extended until Feb. 28.
In addition, there will be two more chances to speak to ODOT officials this month regarding the study. One is in-person from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 19 in the Merchant Building at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, 236 Pennsylvania Ave., Delaware. There will also be a virtual presentation and meeting at noon on Jan. 27, but registration to participate is required by visiting the ODOT website.
“Future public commenting periods are anticipated to be conducted in the spring and summer of 2022,” said the ODOT study website.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.