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Columbus: I-70/I-71 Split Project

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I thought that we'd be getting some of that federal transportation funding for this project, but from other news articles I've read, a lot of that funding is now in jeopardy due to the gulf coast rebuilding efforts being a higher priority.

 

Hopefully ODOT can still pull off the cap idea. I'd love to not have to see or hear 70/71 unless I'm actually driving on it. ;)

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Interesting side note: the I-670 cap on North High Street just won a local architectural award for its design and innovation.  That ought to show ODOT, who originally resisted the idea of a cap, that such things can be more than just window-dressing and actually serve a transportation function. 

 

There are some very good photos of the cap at the following wed address: http://columbusretrometro.typepad.com/photos/short_north/04_dscn0754.html

 

The storefronts on the cap are almost all full and business appears to be good.  My understanding is that it is also generating more foot traffic in the Short North and Arena Districts, since it sits exactly in between the two very popular areas.

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  State balks at deck on I-70/71 split

Boulevard proposed by the city too costly, ODOT analysis says

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Tim Doulin

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

 

 

A grand boulevard envisioned by the city and other local officials to welcome motorists Downtown may be too grand for the state.

 

Though it has not been eliminated from consideration, the late-entry proposal as a way to untangle and rebuild the I-70/71 split would not only be the most expensive of five options under consideration, but also one of the more difficult to build, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2005/11/24/20051124-D1-01.html&chck=t

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Sounds like the same issues we are facing in Cleveland with the Innerbelt project. In other words, the more expensive options would promote economic development in the core city, while the ODOT-recommended option could cause significant harm to the core. It's time ODOT realizes they don't exist in a vacuum and that their projects don't end at the highways' berms.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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ODOT fought the I-670 "cap" tooth and nail before it was built.  They finally came around when local forces prevailed, and now it is a huge success.  You'd never know a major Interstate runs underneath it... you can't see it or hear it.  The "cap" itself carries North High Street over I-670 and is bordered on either side by a series of restaurants and small shops that were built on the "cap" and the facade is a recreation of the original facade of the late, lamented Union Station.

 

(Photos are courtesy of ColumbusRetroMetro.com )

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Thanks for sharing.  While I'm not familiar with this area, it is certainly heart-warming to see that Ohio's cities are pretty damn tired of ODOT's one-size-fits-all transportation policy.  If the cities continue to emphasize the importance of the surrounding neighborhoods when evaluating transportation improvements, I have to think that eventually it might sink in with the policy makers.  Great pics, by the way!

 

I have two words for the ODOT hacks:  Embarcadero Freeway.

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Thanks for sharing.  While I'm not familiar with this area, it is certainly heart-warming to see that Ohio's cities are pretty damn tired of ODOT's one-size-fits-all transportation policy.  If the cities continue to emphasize the importance of the surrounding neighborhoods when evaluating transportation improvements, I have to think that eventually it might sink in with the policy makers.  Great pics, by the way!

 

I have two words for the ODOT hacks:  Embarcadero Freeway.

 

So you following the Whitehurst Freeway debate then?

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Oh, absolutely!  I work a block from the Whitehurst.

 

From what I have gleaned, the District wants to get rid of the Whitehurst because simply, it is an eyesore.  I think the unspoken motive is that the District wants a more people-oriented city, as opposed to having cars fly through it at 100 mph.

 

The suburban car commuters seem to be the only ones really cheesed off at the idea.  Their ire really galls me, because they live in different states, and don't pay DC taxes.  It becomes a question of "To what extent are DC residents willing to subsidize car commuters from out-of-state?"  We deserve a beautiful place to live and work, and I'd rather have my tax dollars used to support DC residents instead of those in BMWs and Mercedes who choose to live in Maryland and Virginia.   

 

 

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Looks like the Ohio Department Of Thoughtlessness is at it again.  Somebody needs to step up and make a damn decision here!  This is going on 4 years of studies and NO engineering has been done yet!  We need a leader to step up with a funding plan and budget offsets.

 

ODOT wary of city's plan for 70/71 split

Adrian Burns

Business First

Columbus' chosen plan for redesigning the congested Interstate 70/71 split isn't the best option available, says a study by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

 

The proposal, submitted in July by the city, Columbus Downtown Development Corp. and others, calls for widening Fulton Street onto an elevated deck over the westbound lanes of I-70.

 

The idea aims to use the deck to halve the expanse of the I-70/71 corridor, allowing for the transformation of Fulton Street into a green boulevard that would complement renewal efforts planned for the nearby RiverSouth district. The boulevard would also control traffic moving from the expressway onto city streets.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006

(Still) Fixing the Split: I-70/71 Plans at a Crossroads

 

Noon - 1:15 p.m. at the Athletic Club, 136 E. Broad Street

 

Bob Milbourne

President & CEO, The Columbus Partnership

Gordon Proctor

Director, ODOT

 

If you've ever attempted to navigate the junction of I-70/71 you would no doubt agree with ODOT that the downtown split is the most congested, high-crash freeway in Ohio.  It was designed half a century ago and built in the ?60s to carry what must have seemed like a very generous 125,000 vehicles per day. Today, 175,000 vehicles travel this stretch resulting in two crashes daily!

 

For the past year, ODOT has been studying four alternatives that would rebuild the freeway, ramps and nearby city streets.  In July, the city asked ODOT to analyze and consider a more costly fifth alternative - the "Grand Boulevard."

 

The alternatives under study range in cost from $580 million to $830 million.  ODOT has $425 million committed to the project through 2011 and will build the highway in phases focusing on the most congested, high-crash areas first.

 

All of the alternatives untangle the I-70/71 overlap by rebuilding the interchanges at State Route 315 and I-71 and changing the location of travel lanes for each.  The five alternatives differ in how they tie the freeway system into the downtown street network.

 

ODOT's Director Gordon Proctor will discuss the project from the state's perspective and Bob Milbourne of the Columbus Partnership will provide the local viewpoint and priorities.  ODOT expects to have the final plan for the corridor by this summer. 

 

RSVP

 

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

(Still) Fixing the Split: I-70/71 Plans at a Crossroads

Noon - 1:15 p.m.

At the Athletic Club of Columbus, 136 E. Broad St.

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From ThisWeek German Village, 1/26/06:

 

 

Talks continuing on I-70/I-71 project

Short North-style 'caps' are among the several design proposals

Thursday, January 26, 2006

BY TRISTAN CROWE

ThisWeek Staff Writer

 

German Village Society members are continuing talks about the Ohio Department of Transportation's I-70/ I-71 highway project.

 

Society members voiced concerns regarding ODOT's plans for restructuring the downtown corridor of I-70/I -71 during the January meeting and currently await the department's decision on a definitive plan.

 

http://thisweeknews.com/thisweek.php?edition=GermanVillage&story=thisweeknews/012606/GermanVillage/News/012606-News-85581.html

 

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Grand boulevard still city’s choice to fix I-70/71 split

State transportation officials against idea because of expense, disruptions to traffic

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tim Doulin

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The Ohio Department of Transportation and the city of Columbus remain divided over how to fix the I-70/71 Downtown split.

 

A coalition that includes the city is asking ODOT to keep a proposal for a grand boulevard as an option in rebuilding that portion of the freeway.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/02/01/20060201-E10-01.html

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Proctor said construction of the proposed boulevard would create a number of logistical problems, including nightmarish congestion caused by motorists being rerouted onto city streets.

 

You've got to be kidding. ODOT had no problems closing down I-670 through downtown for nearly 2 years, and they're afraid to close I-70/71 for reconstruction? If they make 315/670 an alternate, they shouldn't have to worry much about traffic clogging up city streets. ODOT has absolutely no forsight in any matter, and if something comes up that contradicts what they want, they piss and moan about it.

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ODOT threw up much the same arguments against the Short North Cap over I-670 before it was built.  Virtually all of their fears were unfounded.  Unfotunately, we are dealing with a culture at ODOT that is more about putting up roadblocks than seeking solutions.

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FYI...

 

WHAT:

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will hold a public meeting Wednesday night to share its recommendations for rebuilding the Interstate 70/71 “split†in downtown Columbus. 

 

ODOT considers the highway one of the most congested, high-crash freeway locations in the state.  It was built more than 40 years ago and carries about 175,000 vehicles a day — 50,000 more than the highway was designed to handle.  As a result, the highway experiences about 800 crashes a year or more than two crashes each day.

 

For the past year, ODOT has been studying five alternatives for fixing the freeway.  The department’s goal was to narrow the alternatives to no more than two, which could be studied in greater detail over the next six months.

 

As part of its recommendations, ODOT plans to move forward in studying one alternative for rebuilding the east leg of the freeway along I-71.  However, narrowing the alternatives on the south leg – where I-70 and I-71 overlap – will be delayed until the city of Columbus and ODOT can reach agreement on which alternatives will move forward for continued analysis. 

 

WHO:

ODOT representatives, as well as consultants working with the department to develop solutions, will be on hand to answer questions and record public comments. 

 

WHEN & WHERE:

 

February 15

Open House from 5 to 7 p.m.

Columbus Health Department Auditorium

Presentation at 5:30 p.m. (Room 119C)

240 Parsons Avenue (corner of Parsons and Main)

Free parking in rear

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nbc4i.com

Solutions For Downtown Split Unveiled

Construction Could Begin In 2010

 

POSTED: 6:28 pm EST February 15, 2006

UPDATED: 6:47 pm EST February 15, 2006

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After a year of exploring possible solutions for a troubled stretch of road, officials have narrowed down the choices to two options.

 

Now, engineers are asking for the public to help decide what should be done to the Interstate 70, Interstate 71 split downtown, NBC 4's Marshall McPeek reported.

 

http://www.nbc4i.com/traffic/7092486/detail.html#

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GRAND BOULEVARD’ WORKSHOP PLANNED

Suit with city possible over I-70/71 split, state says

Friday, February 24, 2006

Tim Doulin

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

 

 

Squabbling between state transportation officials and the city of Columbus has delayed plans to fix the dangerous I-70/71 Downtown split.

 

Disagreements over how to fix the problem have set the project back six months. Construction was supposed to start in 2009. State officials now say work might not begin until 2010.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/02/24/20060224-C1-04.html

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Wow.  Maybe threats of taking the agency to court will make ODOT realize that they are actually accountable to the communities which they work for!

 

After looking on the website about the proposals though, I can kind of see where ODOT is coming from.  A really wide boulevard sounds nice, but not for pedestrians.  It would be okay if they would place shops along the points of the boulevard where high, 3rd, and 4th streets cross (maybe with little vendor stands in the median?).  Then it wouldn't seem like a huge barrier to cross going from German village to downtown, vice versa.

 

But if the boulevard is rejected, it does sound like ODOT is really considering caps along those points anyway.  The project doesn't seem so bad in that case.

 

As far as worrying about all the people flooding the local streets during construction, I don't see their point (though I am not a transportation expert  :-)).  Why can't they detour poeple to Columbus's moat (I-270) and possibly onto I-670.  Otherwise, drivers would be going downtown or nearby and would need to be on those streets or nearby ones anyway.   

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But if the boulevard is rejected, it does sound like ODOT is really considering caps along those points anyway.  The project doesn't seem so bad in that case.

After attending the public meeting a few weeks back, I'm quite sure that ODOT is serious about building caps.  The are budgeting 10 million for 2-3 caps (probably one for Long, one for High, and one for Front).

 

As far as worrying about all the people flooding the local streets during construction, I don't see their point (though I am not a transportation expert  :-)).  Why can't they detour poeple to Columbus's moat (I-270) and possibly onto I-670.  Otherwise, drivers would be going downtown or nearby and would need to be on those streets or nearby ones anyway.   

This has to do with the traffic volumes that would be detoured and not allowed to exit into downtown.  During the public meeting, they threw up a statistic about how much traffic was detoured when I-670 was shut down, then compared that to the split.  I can't recall the exact numbers but I think it was 3-4 times larger.  ODOT does not want to put up a freeway sign that says "Columbus Closed...Come Back in 4 Years".  That's what constructing the Grand Boulevard would result in.  The one way CD options allow for a phased approach to construction and therefore keep the split open during construction.

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Why not just route I-71 onto 315 and have 315/I-71 connect with I-71 north of Columbus in Delaware County?

 

Why not just elimnate the remining 72 freeway exits within the outerbelt and force people to bypass columbus around I-270?   :?

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Why not just route I-71 onto 315 and have 315/I-71 connect with I-71 north of Columbus in Delaware County?

 

Because any connection north of I-270 would require a new highway, crossing the Olentangy River and running through Orange Twp.

If environmental concerns wouldn't stop construction, political pressure (from the Middle class citizens up there) would.

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Why not just route I-71 onto 315 and have 315/I-71 connect with I-71 north of Columbus in Delaware County?

 

Why not just elimnate the remining 72 freeway exits within the outerbelt and force people to bypass columbus around I-270?   :?

 

And what would plan to do for those who lived within the I-270 loop?

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After attending the public meeting a few weeks back, I'm quite sure that ODOT is serious about building caps.  The are budgeting 10 million for 2-3 caps (probably one for Long, one for High, and one for Front).

 

Brewmaster--

 

Thanks for the info.  It'll be good to see a reconnection to the East Side with a cap on Long St. 

 

Do you know what they are planning to do with the 3rd/4th street looparound area?

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I could be wrong, but I believe thier current plan eliminates the 3rd/4th st. exits entirely.  They are relying on one-way collector/distributor roads to bring all traffic in and out of downtown.  I think they are taking out all but a couple of exits along the split. 

 

Say you were coming into downtown from the west side.  You would take an exit labeled "downtown" that would put you on a reworked version of Livingston or Fulton that starts around the the Scioto.  You'd then proceed down Livingston or Fulton (one way) until you hit your connecting street.  This would eliminate most of the merging and rapid lane changes that occur on the split by getting the traffic off/on the highway in a more organized way.

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From ThisWeek Clintonville, 3/30/06:

 

 

Workshop on I-70/71 split proves to be inconclusive

Thursday, March 30, 2006

By SUE HAGAN

ThisWeek Staff Writer

 

A constructability workshop held March 23 did not produce enough detail for the city of Columbus and the Ohio Department of Transportation to conclude its discussions on whether the Grand Boulevard option is feasible as part of the I-70/71 split reconstruction.

 

Now, ODOT says it will talk some more with the city and make its recommendation in April on whether further study should be done or if the option should be dropped.

 

http://www.thisweeknews.com/thisweek.php?edition=Clintonville&story=thisweeknews/033006/Clintonville/News/033006-News-124788.html

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^ I'd like to know that too.  As a resident that lives two blocks away...I even dislike the Grand Boulevard option (and the city is proposing this for me!).  I'd like to send a letter to the people advocating this flawed plan on my behalf.

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From Business First of Columbus, 4/10/06:

 

 

Split decision

Two opposing sides battle over future interstate access

Business First of Columbus - April 7, 2006

by Adrian Burns

Business First

 

In 30 years, some people may not remember the disagreements over the redesign of the Interstate 70 and 71 ramps in downtown Columbus.

 

But most likely, it will be apparent whether the final decision was right or wrong.

 

The Ohio Department of Development and a coalition of local leaders want to make the right choice for what has become known as the I-70/71 split, but they still haven't reached an agreement on what that is.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2006/04/10/focus1.html?from_rss=1

 

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Boulevard above I-70/71 called too pricey

State likes other plans; city not giving up

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Tim Doulin

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

State transportation officials want to dump the city’s request to cover the proposed fix for the I-70/71 split with a shop-lined, eight-lane boulevard. The state said the city’s plan would cause traffic problems and cost too much.

 

The Ohio Department of Transportation asked the Federal Highway Administration to take the idea off the table as the state moves forward and studies two other alternatives, the state said.

 

http://dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/06/01/20060601-A1-02.html

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People tend to forget that ODOT fought the I-670 "Cap" in much the same way they are fighting this proposal today.  We are dealing with a very institutionalized "my-way-or-the-highway" philosophy that has to be dragged kicking and screaming toward anything that is different or new.

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ODOT just wants to build roads and doesn't want any meddling from anyone. The only reason there is any sort of discussion is because they are forced to have hearings by law. There are some very good people at ODOT, but unfortunately, they don't run the show.

 

I wonder if, at the end of the day, whether the city could block this project until they get an accomodation?

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Well ODOT is planning to put aside money for 2-3 caps (Long, High, and Front).  They've already made concessions here.  The crime is that the city jumped in at the 11th hour with a flawed proposal.  Someone at the city needs to just swallow thier pride and go with the ODOT plan before the whole project is too expensive to build.  Anybody check the prices of concrete and steel lately?

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I agree. Having an 8-lave boulevard Downtown is just too much in my opinon. Wouldn't this proposed boulevard be almost as wide as Polaris Parkway is from about I-71 to Old State Road? Besides, I think that the caps would look much better. On a bit of a side note, has anyone else noticed that there is an arch over East Long Street,at I-71, that says "King-Lincoln"? It looks very nice!

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This 8 lane boulevard would be in additon to Livingston?? If so, that's a bit much. I'd favor widening Livingston and Fulton maybe a lane and capping at Long, High and Front. Is there a link for this?

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