Derr Road reconstruction moves ahead, city to find funding

Derr Road reconstruction moves ahead, city to find funding

The project to reconstruct Derr Road is moving full steam ahead after receiving needed approval from the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee on Friday morning.

The project now falls into the City of Springfield’s hands to coordinate where the dollars and cents will come from. The first phase of the project is estimated to cost $2.6 million.

On Friday, the TCC approved the amended project to reconstruct Derr Road from its current state into a a four-lane road with added designated turn lane and multi-use paths on either side of the road for pedestrians and bicyclists — commonly known as Alternative Four.

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In order for the project to move forward, a report from the city and its hired consultant about the project needed to be approved by both the TCC and ODOT.

The project hit a roadblock in June when ODOT said they could not make a decision on the project because they hadn’t received enough information from the city and their consultant.

The future of the project was then tabled until Friday.

ODOT Capital Program Administrator Matt Parrill said since June, his team at ODOT has worked with the city and its consultant to identify the areas where more information was needed. The city did resubmit the necessary report and ODOT provided feedback.

Parrill said ODOT was satisfied that would meet the purpose and need of the project.

The final report still needs to be submitted and approved by ODOT, but with the latest TCC approval, the city can move into a preliminary design phase of the project.

Another responsibility for the city is finding the funding for the project.

ODOT’s approval on the Derr Road project is needed in order for the city to receive state funding. In order to receive that funding, the city had to look for ways to reduce congestion and promote cleaner travel options, such as bicycles.

The city is exploring other state and local avenues to cover remaining costs.

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“This allows us to move forward with the project and improve a corridor in our community that is in much need of improvement,” said Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck. “We appreciate people voicing their concerns, their issues and helping us make this project great for our community as a whole.”

One of the most vocal neighbors during the entire course of the project has been JP Johnson, who lives just off of Derr.

He and his wife have been to countless meetings and even passed out flyers around their neighborhood.

He said it’s been a long journey, but he can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’ve had a lot of nights where I’ve thought, ‘Oh my god this really can happen,’” Johnson said. “I feel that a lot of the problems on Derr Road will be solved.”

ODOT is tentatively expected to make a final decision on the report submitted by the city in a few weeks.

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