January 18, 2012

ODOT To Everyone: FOFF

ODOT had a press release yesterday and delayed most large road construction projects a number of years. Here's a quote:
"After a year of discussing the looming transportation financial crisis facing Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) today released funding projections that could result in pushing back by decades some of the state’s largest construction projects.
ODOT staff made the recommendations during a presentation to the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC), a bi-partisan group responsible for approving funding for the State’s largest transportation projects. 
The TRAC is wrapping up a year-long process of receiving and reviewing applications for transportation funding projects throughout the state. The TRAC received 72 applications in 2011 for new transportation projects totaling nearly $10 billion. Planning, design and construction of various phases of additional projects totaling $2 billion is already underway. However, ODOT only has roughly $100 million per year to spend on new construction.
ODOT is funded completely with state and federal motor fuel tax and has seen that revenue shrink over the past several years. As vehicles become more fuel efficient and fuel consumption decreases, so does the amount of revenue generated to pay for Ohio’s infrastructure and create jobs."
What does this mean for Columbus? Phase 2 of the I-70/I-71 "Split Fix" has been delayed from 2014 to 2025, Phase 3 of the "Split Fix" has been delayed from 2015 to 2028, Phase 4 from 2016 to 2032, Phase 5 from 2016 to 2033. Additionally, there were a few other projects delayed such as an additional lane of High Street near Lazelle Road which was delayed from 2014 to 2019. For comparison, Phase 1 of the "Split Fix" started in 2011 and is planned for completion in 2014.

First of all, who had any idea that there were 5 phases planned for the "Split Fix"? Second, the last 4 phases are an estimated total of $616.1 million while Phase 1 is $200 million. That's a lot of smackers. Especially since the rush hours only affects 6% of the year assuming 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening.

Overall, I question of how necessary Phase 1 was if the remaining phases were so easily delayed. Have you seen the scope of work that will be modified by Phase 1?

Source: ODOT and here's another picture
That's a pretty small area for $200 million. Plus it's one bottleneck among 4 within the Inner-belt. If we can wait an additional 11 years for Phase 2 I would argue we could wait indefinitely for any of the fix.

Cool link of the day (if only traffic planning was like Sim City):


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