Engineering study underway for the new I-71 interchange near US Route 36 in Delaware County


A 10-year I-71 interchange in Delaware County is one step closer to completion.

The Delaware County Engineer’s Office has started a 15-month engineering study for a new interchange that county deputy chief engineer Robert Riley says is about a third of a mile south of the ramps from US Highway 36.

The proposed project calls for the new interchange to be linked to the Sunbury Parkway project, which Riley said would be built south of Highway 36, running from Africa Road in the east and west to near the town. from Sunbury.

From Sunbury Parkway, traffic could turn north or south on I-71, he said. Northbound I-71 traffic could exit onto Sunbury Parkway, while southbound I-71 traffic would have to exit onto Route 36 to reach the boardwalk, he said.

The new interchange would also allow access to Tanger Outlets and Wilson Road, Riley said.

“If you take the Polaris and Gemini (Parkway I-71 interchange) and drop it here, that’s pretty much what it looks like. So all the same ramp moves you have at Polaris-Gemini that you would have here. “said Riley.

It’s a little less clear when the interchange can be built, said Brooke Ebersole, public information officer for District 6 of the Ohio Department of Transportation, serving Delaware and six other counties.

“The project will start construction depending on the funds available, and all that funding is not there yet,” Ebersole said. “But the partnership between ODOT and Delaware County has kept the project moving forward so that we can kind of condense that timeline a bit and get it going once all that funding is available.”

ODOT’s responsibility would focus on the interchange and its ramps, regardless of the roads that connect to it, she said.

“ODOT has really led the charge on this project for the past 10 years,” said Riley. “There is going to be a lot of development activity around the (planned) interchange.”

This new development will help fund the exchange, he said. The work will be completed in several phases, the first phase costing between 30 and 35 million dollars.

Still ahead, he said, is the task of acquiring the necessary property. Until then, he said, “we don’t have a plan yet.”

All work related to the project could potentially total $ 100 million, he said.

Further improvements to the I-71 interchange and Route 36 are possible, Ebersole said, but they are not directly related to the new interchange being planned.

Delaware County Commissioners authorized the start of the engineering study on Nov. 8, which will include an agreement with the Delaware County Transportation Improvement District.

TIDs are authorized by Ohio’s revised code to move transportation projects forward faster and more efficiently, armed with some additional powers that counties lack, Riley said.

The Delaware County TID is a seven-member council, including five members appointed by county commissioners, he said.

TID has worked on other projects in the county, the largest to date being the extension of Home Road east of US Highway 23, Riley said.

In this case, he said, about half of the project was paid for by the developers, “and therefore the TID could aggregate different sources of funding and allocate them to one large project.” County funds were also used, he said.

TID was also involved in a short North Road extension, which opened in August near the new Shale Meadows Elementary School in Olentangy, Riley said.

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