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Columbus: I-70/I-71 Split Project

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Michelle May has been the spokeswoman for District 6 (if not all of ODOT) for 5 years.

As for the Boulvard idea, that was considered (it was an early frontrunner) and discarded back in 2004.

 

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But wasn't that boulevard to be built over the split? I'm talking about filling in where the split is right now with a street-level boulevard, with solid ground underneath making caps unneccesary.

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But wasn't that boulevard to be built over the split? I'm talking about filling in where the split is right now with a street-level boulevard, with solid ground underneath making caps unneccesary.

 

You can always going back to the first page of this thread to see what we thought things would be back in 2004.

 

Otherwise I thought the boulevard option was for I-70, from Miller-Kelton to 3rd/4th St.  No mention of doing anything of the like for I-71, from I-670/Spring St to I-70.

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^^Yes, I was right about the boulevard being built over the highway and you are correct, it was only for I-70.

 

^Yep, if that's possible with a boulevard. I just found some important info. The split gets 175,000 vehicles per day http://www.morpc.org/web/forums/corf/documents/21306Minutes_000.pdf

vs Milwaukee's Park East highway which carried 40,000 per day http://info.cnt.org/~kara/BlogUpdate/SeattlePI.HighwayTear.052306.pdf which might affect the feasibility of such a project. So if anyone knows how much daily traffic goes through downtown on I-670 & SR 315 along with their capacity please share that info (http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/resources/publications/FullClosure/CrossCutting/its.htm lists the daily traffic at 62,000 on I-670 and http://www.ua-ohio.net/masterplan/document/3transportation.pdf lists 105,000 per day on SR 315 but those look like they are for the entire stretches, not just the downtown segments). Also of interest, I just came across is this "Summer 2003: Preliminary Concepts & Summary of Analyses" http://www.dot.state.oh.us/7071study/draftprelconcepts8-03.asp which states the split carries 175,000 vehicles, but when I-670 re-opens it will take an estimated 30% of that number off of the split. However, that 175,000 figure was used again in 2006, so did they not bother updating it or did the number of daily vehicles stay exactly the same? If it wasn't updated and the re-opening of I-670 did in fact take 30% (52,500 vehicles) of the current traffic off of the spilt that would make the current figure quite a bit lower than what is currently stated. Of course, it could have done better or worse than expected, but I can't find any info pertaining to that. It goes without saying that light-rail would go even further in lowering traffic, but that is still a dream. There is this Average Daily Traffic 1994-2003 for downtown streets/highways, but I'm probably not reading it correctly http://downtowncolumbus.com/publications/DTTrafficCounts1994-2003.pdf .

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Sounds like your plan would put a stanglehold on central ohio's economy.  How can we be a world leader in shipping and logistics by choking off access to one of the most frequently traveled cross country highways in the country?  There's no way that 670 could handle that traffic load.  This was one of the reasons that the city's "grand boulevard" idea was shot down.  ODOT couldn't afford to close off the highway while it was built.  670 couldn't handle it.

 

I understand why you're thinking the way that you are, but I think you need to step back and look at the big picture.

 

EDIT: Here's a link to some traffic volumes (1995-2004).

http://downtowncolumbus.com/publications/DTTrafficCounts1995-2004.pdf

70/71 - 141,000

670 - 100,000 in it's core, but on the connectors, only 63k and 56k.

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Sounds like your plan would put a stanglehold on central ohio's economy.  How can we be a world leader in shipping and logistics by choking off access to one of the most frequently traveled cross country highways in the country?  There's no way that 670 could handle that traffic load.  This was one of the reasons that the city's "grand boulevard" idea was shot down.  ODOT couldn't afford to close off the highway while it was built.  670 couldn't handle it.

 

I understand why you're thinking the way that you are, but I think you need to step back and look at the big picture.

 

EDIT: Here's a link to some traffic volumes (1995-2004).

http://downtowncolumbus.com/publications/DTTrafficCounts1995-2004.pdf

70/71 - 141,000

670 - 100,000 in it's core, but on the connectors, only 63k and 56k.

 

:/. I'll take one last stab at it, how about directing interstate travelers to I-270? Again, ideally we'd have funding for a substantial light-rail system and developments near highways (like northern I-270) weren't sprawl, but...yeah. I do wonder how long will it take for traffic on the split to reach capacity, I guess when it does we'll just throw another $800+ million at it and hope it goes away...and we'll still be without light-rail. Surely not setting up a good rail system would put a stranglehold on our economy too. I'm hoping next month when the power in our government switches that some action will be taken.

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From the 1/20/07 Dispatch:

 

 

STREETCARS IN MIX, TOO

Support for caps over I-70/71 puts stress on planners

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tim Doulin

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Regional planners might change their minds and recommend money to build caps over the I-70/71 freeway Downtown, following public comments that supported the project.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/dispatch/contentbe/dispatch/2007/01/20/20070120-C3-01.html

 

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From the 1/29/07 Dispatch:

 

 

GRAPHIC: Costly construction

 

I-70/71 REBUILDING PLAN

At least $58 million needed for 12 caps on Downtown split

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tim Doulin

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Pat Lewis lives in Victorian Village, not far from the restaurants and shops that sit on the N. High Street cap over I-670.

 

She can?t help wondering about the impact a freeway cap over I-71 would have on the Near East Side, where she works.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/dispatch/contentbe/dispatch/2007/01/29/20070129-C1-04.html

 

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From ThisWeek German Village, 2/15/07:

 

 

I-70/71 reconstruction

Front Street ideas discussed at meeting

Thursday, February 15, 2007

By SUE HAGAN

ThisWeek Staff Writer 

 

Although the Front Street bridge over I-70/71 won't get an elaborate cap during the makeover of the freeway split, improvements will make it more pedestrian friendly. And a decision will soon be made as to whether Livingston Avenue will become a one-way collector road.

 

Questions on those two topics dominated the Feb. 7 Brewery District Society meeting, during a presentation by representatives of the Ohio Department of Transportation and its design consultant.

 

http://www.thisweeknews.com/?story=sites/thisweeknews/021507/GermanVillage/News/021507-News-306193.html

 

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From the 3/17/07 Dispatch:

 

 

* GRAPHIC: Comparing plans for new ramps

 

People in high-rise condos throw stones at ramp plan

New I-70/71 split might include ramp that soars beside Miranova, Waterford Tower

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Mark Ferenchik

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Nancy Brown enjoys the terrace garden outside her fifthfloor condominium at Miranova.

 

It?s a benefit she and others don?t want spoiled by traffic whizzing past on a new entrance ramp to I-70, a ramp that could be at nearly the same level as her garden atop a parking garage.

 

Brown is among residents of the Miranova and Waterford Tower condominiums Downtown who are concerned that one of the plans for the rebuilt I-70/71 split includes a new ramp near their buildings that would funnel traffic to the freeway from Mound Street, which would become westbound-only.

 

http://www.dispatch.com/dispatch/contentbe/dispatch/2007/03/17/20070317-B4-00.html

 

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I-70/71 PLANS

Mound, Fulton future portals?

Favored plan boosts southern end of Downtown, officials say

Wednesday,  June 6, 2007 3:40 AM

By Debbie Gebolys and Tim Doulin

 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

http://www.dispatch.com/dispatch/content/local_news/stories/2007/06/06/7071FIX.ART_ART_06-06-07_A1_OG6UC2D.html

 

State transportation officials will recommend today that Mound and Fulton streets become major gateways into and out of Downtown as part of a plan to unravel the hazardous I-70/71 split.

 

When the freeway is reconfigured beginning in 2011, Mound would become one-way westbound for traffic from I-71 on the east side headed to destinations Downtown. Fulton Street would be its eastbound counterpart, taking traffic from Rt. 315 through Downtown.

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Get ready for a new commute

I-70/71 plan pulls traffic off freeways, onto city streets

Thursday,  June 7, 2007 3:48 AM

By Debbie Gebolys and Tim Doulin

 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Making an exit

Some familiar entrance/exit ramps will no longer exist once the I-70/71 corridor Downtown is rebuilt. Those remaining will be reconfigured and join new ramps and connector streets.

 

No more ramps:

Civic Center Drive, Front Street-High Street, 3rd Street-4th Street-Livingston Avenue, Fulton Street, Rich Street, Broad Street, Long Street

 

http://dispatch.com/dispatch/content/local_news/stories/2007/06/07/7071NEXT.ART_ART_06-07-07_A1_F36UNFO.html

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Six I-70/71 caps still on city's wish list

Cost of overpasses: at least $53 million

Thursday,  July 19, 2007 3:51 AM

By Tim Doulin

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The city has identified six preferred locations to build caps over the I-70/71 freeway Downtown, but finding the money to build them remains an issue.

 

Spring, Long and Broad streets are favored sites for caps on the eastern leg of the project, and 3rd, High and Front streets on the southern leg.

 

http://dispatch.com/dispatch/content/local_news/stories/2007/07/19/CAPPERS.ART_ART_07-19-07_B1_I57AQO4.html

 

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http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2007/07/23/story2.html 

 

The road less traveled - but not for long

State's plan for the I-70/71 split would deliver huge changes for Mound St.

Business First of Columbus - July 20, 2007by Adrian BurnsBusiness First

 

When developer George Kontogiannis considers the coming reconstruction of the Interstate 70/71 split, he thinks traffic fumes, noise and inconvenience. In short, he's not happy about it.

 

But Franklin University, which shares a block with Kontogiannis' Americana apartment and office complex, couldn't be further away in its opinion. Administrators there are pleased about the project, citing the increased accessibility, visibility and economic development that's likely to result from the state's plan to redirect traffic between downtown and the highway.

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The I-70/71 corridor: Where wrecks are waiting to happen

The most dangerous stretch of highway in Ohio should be fixed -- maybe by 2016

Monday,  October 29, 2007 3:47 AM

By Suzanne Hoholik

 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

It was a clear, sunny morning when Jessica Leslie drove into the end of rush-hour traffic in the I-70/71 corridor Downtown.

 

She had left Cleveland early that August morning last year, headed for an internship in Georgia. Traffic was still heavy as she drove west through Downtown toward I-71 south.

 

"I saw how backed up it was, and I was glancing at my mirror," said Leslie, 20, a Cleveland resident and engineering student at Cleveland State University.

 

http://dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2007/10/29/TheSplit.ART_ART_10-29-07_A1_2I8A25R.html?sid=101

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Here are two graphics that went with the I-70/71 Dispatch story posted by Noozer.  Sort of a before and after plan view of the area, or an existing and proposed overview.

 

1799072636_c6630dd372_b.jpg

 

1799072654_651aa77fa5_b.jpg

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Does anyone know if ODOT has considered adding HOV, HOT lanes or truck and bus only thru lanes? I think this would help the freeway tremendously, since about 13% of the accidents involve trucks. Just my opinion.

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ODOT is allowing COTA buses to operate on the "breakdown" lanes during peak rush hours, but I don't know if HOV or HOT lanes have been considered.  Given that every project has to go through some kind of alternatives analysis, I can't imagine that it wasn't examined.  Whether it has emerged in the actual plans, that I couldn't tell you.

 

Ultimately, however, it won't be enough to simply create dedicated lanes for trucks.  There must be a concurrent effort to take more freight traffic off of the highways and on to rail if we are to reduce the accident toll as well as the overall cost of wear and tear from bigger and heavier trucks.

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Kind of like the old "slot car" racing sets I had as a kid.  There would always be a piece of track called the "chicane" where two cars would ultimately try to share the same space at the same time and would always result in some insane crash.  Lots of fun on a slot car track... terrifying in real life.

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Kind of like the old "slot car" racing sets I had as a kid.  There would always be a piece of track called the "chicane" where two cars would ultimately try to share the same space at the same time and would always result in some insane crash.  Lots of fun on a slot car track... terrifying in real life.

 

Perched atop the Brewery District, I feel like one of the kids in the commercial who shout, "WHOA!  AWESOME!" every time they see one of the slow motion slot car accidents.

 

OK...I can't actually see the accidents, but the circling helicopters and flashing ambulence lights are dead givaways that another one bit the dust.

 

I also love how ODOT always gives the excuse that the highway is dangerous b/c it's operating above it's capacity.  While I'm sure there are times when it's operating well above what it was designed for, the truth is, even on nights when there are few cars on the road, it's a nightmare.  Try coming south on 315, merging east, then crossing 5 lanes in less than a mile to exit at Front St.  I don't care how bad the traffic is...you better be alert!  :-o

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Kind of like the old "slot car" racing sets I had as a kid.  There would always be a piece of track called the "chicane" where two cars would ultimately try to share the same space at the same time and would always result in some insane crash.  Lots of fun on a slot car track... terrifying in real life.

 

A very thrifty use of concrete, but that's about all the good I can say about them.

 

Coming soon, from ODOT:

 

t_17275.jpg

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Back to the issue of HOV lanes: an interesting article about HOV lanes connected with one of the more infamously expensive highway projects.  And check out the cost of the lanes.  And yet they had the chance to connect North and South Stations in Boston, thus connecting the Northeast Corridor all the way to Portland, Maine without changing trains..... but that was somehow forgotten.  Sheesh.

 

The roads less traveled

Built to ease traffic, HOV lanes are largely unused

By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff  |  October 28, 2007

 

They are like quiet country roads, rising and banking, then dipping out of view, the serenity broken by nothing more than the occasional vehicle cruising through the soft turns. Traffic is so sparse that motorists - the few that there are - usually can't see the car ahead.

 

Yet these are anything but rural byways. Rather, they are the little-known and seldom used high-occupancy vehicle lanes of the Big Dig tunnel system, curving in and out of the city not far from the skyscrapers of South Station. When they were opened two years ago, with their very own tunnel under the Fort Point Channel, state officials predicted they would change the way Boston area drivers commute to work.

 

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/10/28/the_roads_less_traveled?mode=PF

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I swear you can find anything on teh internets.

 

[youtube=425,350]1lLkp5gn8Yg

 

[youtube=425,350]hkFu6IKt4to&rel=1

 

Was Roscoe's car actually slower than the General? A definite beatdown would have to happen if another kid tried to make me be Roscoe.

 

The trucking one was a dumb idea. I remember seeing that one at Children's Palace, Service Merchandise and Gold Circle. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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Kind of like the old "slot car" racing sets I had as a kid.  There would always be a piece of track called the "chicane" where two cars would ultimately try to share the same space at the same time and would always result in some insane crash.  Lots of fun on a slot car track... terrifying in real life.

A very thrifty use of concrete, but that's about all the good I can say about them.

Coming soon, from ODOT:

 

t_17275.jpg

 

Ha!  Love the slot car reference!  Good childhood memories - that and Evel Knievel toys. 

 

The above image looks like a freeway system designed by Rem Koolhaas or Zaha Hadid!

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I know there's a thread for ODOT, but I felt this warranted it's own. I thought this horrible idea fell through, but it has reared its ugly head.

 

Historic Business To Be Removed For Downtown Split

 

Wednesday, Aug 13, 2008 - 05:39 PM

 

By Denise Yost

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Interstate 70-Interstate 71 split is one of the most dangerous roadways in Central Ohio.

 

On average, there are three crashes a day in the area, totaling nearly 1,200 crashes every year.

 

A $500 million road project aims at decreasing crashes in the area, but some area residents said the construction could hurt businesses and the economy in their communities.

 

Instead of offering a real solution ODOT claims the best remedy is more lanes. A little bit of background for those not from Columbus: this stretch of Parsons Ave hold the most potential as an up-and-coming, walkable, commercial corridor with one of the city's best restaurants, an art gallery, another gallery, neighborhood gay bar, and a chinese joint where a KFC used to be along with two businesses slated to be eliminated for expansion: Carabar (one-of-a-kind bar/live music venue and whose owners also live upstairs) and E.T. Paul Tires. This stretch of Parsons is also the only commercial stretch in all of Olde Towne East which consists mostly of stately historic homes. FYI, Milwaukee tore down a stretch of highway in their downtown for a boulevard (granted, it wasn't part of an interstate stretch) which is, of course, safer because you have a slower speed limit along with traffic which keeps speeds lower. Just more insanity to kill off a budding, interesting street for the sake of moving more cars out of the city faster.

 

I'm interested in getting something visible done to oppose this and welcome any ideas. The price of the split originally was $500 million and now is $1.4 billion

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I think the highway project is 40 years overdue, personally.

 

The interstate highway junctions and the multiplex is woefully inadequate to handle 1980 traffic levels, and the limited sight distances, numerous entrance and exit ramps that diverge and come in on both sides of the roadway makes the highway dangerous. As noted, 1,200 accidents occur every year, and every option to remedy this has been exhausted.

 

That said, the price inflation has nothing to do with ODOT. Construction materials have sharply risen in the past few years, accelerated after Hurricane Katrina and only much more so with the cost of oil -- which is a necessary component in construction.

 

That said, this project isn't really adding any lanes just for the sake of adding for future traffic levels. This is a project to restore the level-of-service to at least a C -- which is merely acceptable. The project will eliminate the severe weaving issues, consolidate downtown interchanges -- similar to what was done with the wholly successful Fort Washington Way Project in Cincinnati, improve sight distances, and incorporate infrastructure to implement a cap at a future date.

 

The cap is one feature that is sorely needed, but with construction material cost inflation, that cost will most likely need to be burdened by the state and city as a ratio.

 

The loss of a handful of properties is sad, but the project has been needed for decades. There is simply no where else for traffic converging into Columbus to travel to -- and the highway is a necessary component of the transportation infrastructure. People need to travel to and from downtown, much like people need to go from the west side to the east side, from the north side to the south side, and etc.

 

At least the beltway in Columbus functions as an adequate beltway, unlike Cincinnati's.

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Siecer hits one problem with the current setup: Too many entrances and exits! All of that ought to be eliminated in favor of a couple of ramps at the edge of downtown.

 

Aside from that, that rightof way looks plenty wide to this untrained eye. I have to wonder if the layout could be more efficient.

 

And do we HAVE to tear down what little remains of anything worthwhile??? :?

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ODOT is still willing to deal, and the businesses are not being removed specifically for the highway widening, but to create a new urban roadway for Parsons Avenue. The design calls for a new roadway, sidewalks and infrastructure, with bulb-outs and on-street parking, which is better than the current setup.

 

Location of the historic business. There are numerous vacant parcels on the opposite side of the street that can be utilized for the business, although it still isn't the same as a historic structure. But it does keep it within the neighborhood. Hopefully, ODOT will allot them some extra funds to rebuild nearby.

 

The highway is essentially keeping the same amount of lanes, with the exception of the multiplex, where one additional lane will be created. The left shoulders will now be 12' throughout, and the right shoulders will be 12', along with the general highway lanes. I'm pretty sure that the earthen embankments will be no more, replaced by a concrete wall.

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Oops. I meant to post this on UrbanOhio, but somehow I ended up at SuburbanOhio. :|

As for moving the buildings, we could have sought corporate sponsorship to move the Firestone mansion in the same neighborhood, but no one proposed that even though Fort Wayne did it and it was a success, so I'm very doubtful. Although the city did fight hard against the neighborhood to get a Wendy's with a drive-thru built. They won.

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There is nothing suburban about actually decreasing deaths and accidents while retaining essentially the same right-of-way in a manner that doesn't actually increase capacity. There is more to this project than removing ramps and fixing deficiencies that would never be allowed in any Interstate Highway today.

 

For instance, numerous parallel and adjoining streets will be reconstructed in this project to accommodate increased urban development. Roadways in some instance will be narrowed and reconstructed; new sidewalks with bulb outs and parallel parking spaces are planned; infrastructure improvements are on tap. All this in an area that desperately needs all three. What you may call a "budding commercial strip" seems anything but -- there are numerous vacant parcels and derelict buildings, although it is on the slight upswing. The infrastructure is in poor condition, and the streets are not all that conductive to pedestrian traffic.

 

The buildings slated for demolition are on the west side of the road in question. Some are being taken for geometric improvements to Interstate 71 -- due to the highways issue with sight distances, but most of the properties are being taken for roadway reconstruction and narrowing when the alignment is shifted slightly eastward.

 

I believe a cap over the multiplex, or at least some elongated bridges that can accommodate landscaping in a manner that was done with the Fort Washington Way project would be best here. It won't completely cover the highway, but it would minimize its impact.

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Or you could do away with that highway and turn a portion of 270 into 70. And there's also 670. Free up that land for development that will do way more than any cap could to re-tie Downtown and German Village, Schumacher Place, Olde Towne East, and King Lincoln together and also remove a barrier that just so happened to be built on top of a black neighborhood and played a large part in killing it and preventing investment in the area. Of the land regained would be the northern 1/3 of German Village which we could build to resemble the neighborhood if we wanted to. Most importantly, going the boulevard route would save more lives than this expensive retooling of a failure which will just end up being less of a failure.

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