breaking news

Springfield stabbing victim suffers life-threatening injury, police search for suspect

Clark officials want $5.9M for widening

State says it doesn’t want to waste money, but must keep I-70 in good condition.


Nearly $18 million has been set aside to maintain Interstate 70, but local officials want about a third of that to be used toward widening the remaining portion of the highway to six lanes.

Plans to widen I-70 from Enon Road to Ohio 72 have been shelved until 2036 due to tight state transportation budgets.

And while local transportation officials are working to get the widening project funded sooner, the delay could mean that planned paving and rehab work along the roadway and bridges in that stretch would have to be redone.

“It’s my hope that they would be able to fund the widening project before they have to spend the money on resurfacing and rehabilitating this section because it amounts to a significant cost savings,” said Scott Schmid, Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee director.

“Basically, if you go back and add the lanes five years, 10 years down the road, now you’re going to have to tear up all the pavement that you just placed down during these rehab projects and replace it all again,” he said. “So you’re spending the money twice. And depending on when we get the add lane, it could be relatively soon after they go out and rehab it and that would be unfortunate.”

Ohio Department of Transportation District 7 will get $8.3 million to pave I-70 and a portion of Interstate 675 from the Montgomery County line to Route 4 later this year; $3.7 million will be used to repair three bridges over the highway from Enon Road to U.S. 68 in 2015; and $5.9 million has been approved to pave I-70 between Enon Road to Ohio 72 in 2016.

Officials have also received $1.1 million to purchase right of way along the highway to make way for the widening project.

ODOT District 7 officials has tried for years to get funding to widen I-70 to six lanes in both directions from Enon Road to Ohio 72.

It will submit two new applications to the state Transportation Review Advisory Council board by May 3 in hopes of getting money for construction before 2036.

The first phase of the project is expected to cost $17.6 million and involves adding a lane from Enon Road to U.S. 68.

The second phase of the project to widen the highway between U.S. 68 and Ohio 72 will likely cost about $42.5 million.

ODOT District 7 Planning and Engineering Administrator Matt Parrill said repairs on the three bridges over the highway must be done in 2015.

However, Parrill said officials are trying to delay paving I-70 between Enon Road to Ohio 72 until at least 2016 so they can put that $5.9 million toward the widening project. But he said if road conditions deteriorate, the state might not have that option.

“We have to pursue the widening job and pay attention to the condition of the pavement. If (the road) gets below the pavement condition rating, we will probably have to move forward. But the hope is always that we’ll get the widening money,” Parrill said.

The state already delayed paving the 7.68-mile section in 2012, Parrill said, and are hoping road conditions hold up until they get funding for the widening project.

“Our best guess is that by 2016 we will have to do something … We’re at a point where we are watching the road on an annual basis,” he said.

Parrill said officials cannot wait on the repaving for 10 years or longer in order to get money for the widening project.

“We’re going to do our best not to do any throw away work or any wasted work,” Parrill said. “… But if we have to do that to take care of the (roadway) will just have to do it.”

Parrill along with Springfield Planning and Zoning Administrator Bryan Heck and other area leaders traveled to Columbus last year and told TRAC board that the widening project needs to be funded as soon as possible.

While Heck noted that widening the highway would decrease congestion and improve safety for motorists, he also said the project is critical to the region and the entire state, including for economic development.

Heck on Thursday said the city continues to push for funding for the widening project, but added supporters don’t expect ODOT to neglect highway road conditions while waiting for the state to approve I-70 construction money.

“We need continued upkeep and maintenance of our roads. The widening project is a separate issue. Hopefully, we get funding before 2036, not only for the benefit of Springfield and Clark County, but for the state of Ohio,” Heck said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

'SNL' slams former cast member Al Franken on 'Weekend Update'
'SNL' slams former cast member Al Franken on 'Weekend Update'

"Saturday Night Live" slammed Sen. Al Franken just days after Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden accused the Minnesota Democrat and former "SNL" cast member of groping and kissing her without her consent during a 2006 USO tour. Colin Jost and Michael Che took aim at the comedian-turned-senator during the show's "Weekend...
Why are these Springfield students building pulleys and hula hoops?

Students at Hayward Elementary School in Springfield are taking a class this year that combines technology and fitness. TECHFIT has students using math and science to design a project that promotes health. “They design a technology and fitness exergame,” teacher Yvonne Shelburne said. “Their game is an obstacle course, so there are...
5 things Ohio governor candidates want to do about the opioid crisis
5 things Ohio governor candidates want to do about the opioid crisis

The next governor of Ohio in all likelihood will inherit a drug crisis that continues to kill thousands of Ohioans each year. The annual cost of opiate abuse, addiction and overdoses to Ohio is estimated at $6.6 billion to $8.8 billion, according to researchers at Ohio State University. Beyond the dollars and cents, the scourge is killing on average...
'Project Runway' contestant Wendy Pepper dead at 53
'Project Runway' contestant Wendy Pepper dead at 53

Anne Eustis Pepper Stewart, known as Wendy Pepper, has died at the age of 53, Page Six reports. The “Project Runway” first season contestant “died peacefully" Nov. 12 while "surrounded by her loving family," according to her obituary. The news comes just one month after the death of fellow contestant...
Suspect named in Pennsylvania police officer's shooting death
Suspect named in Pennsylvania police officer's shooting death

Here’s what we know about the fatal shooting of a New Kensington, Pennsylvania, police officer: >> Read more trending news
More Stories