$20M secured for road projects in Clark County

5:56 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2016 News

Transportation officials plan more than $20 million in improvements to Clark County roads and bridges.

Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee Director Scott Schmid said funding has been secured for 13 projects on the 2016-2019 Transportation Improvement Program.

Among the projects is a $1.7 million plan for improvements along Home and Croft Road to add bike lanes along Croft Road to Reid Park and add a turn lane on Croft Road at Robert Eastman Road.

The turn lane is needed to reduce congestion and the number of crashes along the road near Walmart, Burr said.

“It helps reduce rear end accidents when somebody stops in your lane to turn left,” Burr said.

Area residents can review a list of the projects at an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Springview Government Center, 3130 E. Main St.

The TIP is a four-year planning document that lists area projects seeking federal funding for highway, transit, bikeway, traffic and enhancement projects.

County departments and area municipalities, including the county and the city of Springfield have requested transportation funds.

But Schmid said there are fewer construction projects on the list due to the lack of funding and the rising costs of construction material.

“It reflects the current financial situation we’re in between federal, state and local funds. I just don’t see expansion of the system anytime soon. A lot of the things maybe we envisioned in years past when we had a growing population we just don’t see that anymore because we have a declining population,” Schmid said.

“Basically, we’re going to struggle to maintain what we have in the next 25 years. There’s things we planned that we’re not going to get done because there’s just no money.”

Schmid said officials struggled to get funding to widen Interstate 70.

A more than $52.4 million construction project to widen the remaining portion of Interstate 70 in Clark County is expected to receive state funding for construction in fiscal year 2020.

The project, which also includes redoing the existing four lanes and replacing six bridges, had once been in Tier II status and delayed until 2036.

“We scratched and clawed to get the interstate widened. If we can’t sell widening two miles of the interstate then we’re not going to do a whole lot of the expansion of the system around here,” Schmid said.

Pavement projects include a nearly $800,000 project that calls for paving and other improvements along East Street from High Street to Grand Avenue; a nearly $700,000 project that calls for rehabbing Springfield-Xenia Road and a bridge from U.S. 68 to the Springfield Corp. Limit.

Derr Road is the largest of the TIP road projects funded.

Crews are expected to begin making more than $4.8 million in safety improvements along Derr Road due to increased traffic in July.

Traffic volumes in the Northridge area increased after a construction project completed in 2009 changed Derr Road from a bridge over Ohio 334 to an interchange and created a new access point to the state highway, according to a study of the Northridge area.

To improve traffic flow on Derr Road, construction crews plan to make a number of changes, including adding a 5-foot shoulder along Derr Road between Villa and Moorefield roads, a traffic signal at the Derr Road and Montego Drive intersection, a northbound right turn lane at Derr Road and Kingsgate Drive, and a northbound right turn lane at Derr Road and Montego Drive.

Schmid has said the changes are needed because of increased traffic volume and crashes along the road that went from a rural route to a suburban road.

“The lanes (on a rural route) are a little more narrow and you don’t have shoulder because it’s not handling as much (traffic) volume. Once you start to build out here and start to increase the volume, you need the shoulder, you need the lane width to handle that much traffic,” Schmid said.

The city of Springfield has received funding to widen Middle Urbana Road from two to three lanes from Villa Road to Ohio 334 and add shoulder along the road to reduce congestion.

The project is estimated to cost more than $1.7 million.

Schmid said a study of the road showed increased traffic volume due in part to rising enrollment at Emmanuel Christian Academy.

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