State asked to reconsider Rt. 23 corridor proposal

Larry Limpf

News Editor

The Ottawa County commissioners would like the state to resume a feasibility study of a free-flowing road connection between the Columbus and Toledo regions.
The commissioners last week approved a resolution urging Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Transportation to reconvene the Route 23 Connect corridor study and support an improved highway connection between Northwest Ohio and Columbus.
The department of transportation began the Rt. 23 connect study in Spring 2021 to examine the pros and cons of establishing a fully, free-flowing link between the cities. The study centered on the stretch of U.S. 23 between the Village of Waldo and I-270, which is a portion of the I-75/ U.S. 23/ State Rt. 15 corridor with traffic volumes exceeding road capacity.
The area under study includes nearly 40 traffic signals – the only signals between I-270 and Toledo, according to ODOT.
Planners came up with seven concept proposals in the first phase of the study, including an option to not construct anything; upgrading the existing U.S. 23 corridor to free-flow, two new freeway connections to U.S. 33 to the west, and three new freeway connections to I-71 in the east.
According to ODOT, each option was evaluated with a variety of metrics, including travel times, safety benefits, community impacts, environmental impacts, and costs.
“After comparison of the expected benefits and costs for each Phase 1 concept, we have determined none of the concepts as presented can be reasonably implemented. The concepts presented would cost at least three times more than the benefits it would provide and each of the proposed concepts would substantially impact community and natural resources,” ODOT posted on its website after the first phase was completed.
Instead, the study was shifted to focus on planning and implementing a series of stand-alone improvement projects along the U.S. 23 corridor between Waldo and I-270. The next phase of the study lays the groundwork for a plan that recommends and prioritizes specific projects along U.S. 23 to provide safer and more efficient travel, ODOT says.
“The Route 23 Connect study is still ongoing and will identify and prioritize new project concepts along the existing U.S. 23 corridor, including projects to remove traffic signals and improve the flow of traffic along U.S. 23. Currently, ODOT is pursuing funds to develop construction plans for seven intersections in northern Delaware County to improve congestion and safety for the public.
“Additional opportunities for public comment are expected later this year and early next before the
study’s action plan is finalized. As Ohio continues to grow, ODOT is tasked with evaluating the transportation needs that will allow all regions of the state to participate in the state’s economic success. We remain committed to improving the link between Toledo and Columbus to ensure that transportation is never a barrier to prosperity,” said Matt Bruning, ODOT press secretary.
Mark Stahl, a county commissioner said the congestion on Rt. 23 is “only going to get worse.”
“We would like to share in the benefits of commerce between Columbus and up here along the northern shore. But we obviously need an unimpeded route in order to do that,” he said.


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