ODOT and Others Launch Study to Address Delaware County Highway 23 Congestion
State and regional transportation officials have scheduled a series of town halls as part of a study on ways to improve traffic flows on an increasingly congested stretch of Highway 23 between Columbus and the Marion County Line.
Possible solutions include an upgrade of the existing road between Interstate 270 and the village of Waldo, with new overpasses and interchanges, or new road links to divert traffic to US Route 33 west or l ‘Interstate 71 to the east.
Anthony Turowski, planning engineer for ODOT District 6 and project manager for the Highway 23 study, said no final plan has been developed.
Study: Route 23 will become more than a relay
ODOT, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, and the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments are launching a $ 2 million study that will include opportunities for public comment, and officials hope to make recommendations for improvement by the next. mid-2022.
âWe don’t know the answer until we calculate the numbers and talk to people,â Turowski said, later adding: âThis is a big problem on an important corridor for people locally, for the region. and really, for the whole state. We want to preserve and improve it. “
Traffic volumes are already 30% higher than some sections of Route 23 – primarily in Delaware County – were designed to handle, Turowski said.
In 1990, traffic along the nearly 25-mile stretch of road averaged about 55,000 vehicles per day near the intersection of Route 23 and I-270 to the south, and 17,000 per day. at Route 229 (Norton Road), the intersection signposted just before the road becomes a divided freeway at Waldo to the north.
Today, the average number of vehicles has reached around 80,000 vehicles on route 23 / I-270 and 30,000 at Waldo. And one in seven of these vehicles are semi-trailers.
âWe expect this to increase, as trucks grow faster than passenger vehicles,â Turowski said.
In addition, 38 traffic lights between Worthington and the Marion County line further slow traffic.
âEach of them is a compromise,â Turowski said. âIt allows people to access goods and services, all crossed paths on the transport network. That’s great, but each of those (traffic lights) is a little bit of friction on the systemâ¦ ODOT doesn’t have a magic wand, we can’t just make it a highway.
Funding will ultimately dictate the timing of any potential project.
âThese are big improvements,â Turowski said.
A half-dozen public meetings are scheduled for July to gather public feedback on potential improvements. The online sessions will take place on July 7, July 13 and July 14 at noon and 5 p.m. each day, organized geographically by participants’ residences. Full details and registration information are available online at publicinput.com/23connect
The website also includes an online survey of potential improvements to Route 23 and space for additional public comment.
âWe really want to hear from everyone. We want to mark (the different options) and shake everything up fairly, âTurowski said. â… Each concept has advantages and disadvantages: costs, impacts, where the traffic wants to go. “