The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced Monday it will not advance any of the concepts proposed in the Route 23 Connect Delaware Regional Connection Study.
“After comparison of the expected benefits and costs for each concept, we have determined none of the concepts as presented in the study can be reasonably implemented in the immediate future,” ODOT said in a statement. “Therefore, none of the study concepts previously presented will be advanced. Instead, ODOT will begin developing an action plan to identify a series of future, stand-alone improvement projects along the existing U.S. Route 23 corridor between Waldo and Interstate 270.”
The Route 23 Connect study examined improving truck transportation from Toledo to Columbus and found there was congestion from Waldo in Marion County to I-270 in Franklin County. Several concepts, including new routes east and west of Delaware, as well as changes to U.S. 23’s existing path through Delaware County, were proposed.
“Each concept was evaluated using a variety of metrics to analyze travel times, safety benefits, community impacts, environmental impacts, and cost,” ODOT said. The latest data of cost estimates, along with expected impacts and traffic volume forecasts, was put into ODOT’s Preliminary Feasibility Study.
“Public feedback has shown that improvements to safety and congestion is a top priority for many who live and travel along the existing route,” ODOT said. “Additionally, the study clearly indicated that improvements to the U.S. 23 corridor would positively affect tens of thousands of drivers daily. Therefore, this plan for future projects will leverage much of the data, public feedback, and findings from the study.”
While a bypass around Delaware through farmland or a limited-access Route 23 in Orange Township seems unlikely, changes are still on the way to address safety and congestion.
“In the coming months, ODOT will reach out to stakeholders to discuss transportation concerns and priorities along the existing U.S. 23 corridor in more detail,” ODOT said. “Through this shift in focus, we will prioritize the needs of the existing U.S. 23 corridor and develop individual projects, providing drivers with real benefits sooner rather than later. Moving forward, we will continue to engage the public to get your input and ideas for how to solve some of these problems.”
Public input was appreciated, and will still be needed going forward, ODOT said.
“ODOT would like to thank everyone who provided input about the Route 23 Connect Study during the past year,” the statement said. “Again, ODOT appreciates all the energy and involvement from community members during the past year and will be reaching out soon regarding how you can help to shape the action plan for the existing U.S. 23 corridor.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.