(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Dr. Jack Marchbanks announced today the start of construction on the next phase of ODOT’s Downtown Ramp Up project to improve Interstates 70 and 71 through downtown Columbus.
“This section of highway is one of the busiest and most vital routes for freight operators and commuters in the region, and central Ohio has long outgrown it,” said Governor DeWine. “This project modernizes an outdated interchange and tackles the biggest congestion and safety problems on the road to benefit Ohioans for generations to come.”
The interstate was originally built in the late 1950s when the population of Columbus was half of what it is today. Bridges along the corridor also date back to the ʼ50s and ʼ60s, including the 60-year-old Front Street bridge over I-70 that will be replaced with this project.
The project will address safety and congestion by creating new access ramps at Fulton and Mound streets to improve access to and from downtown Columbus at the I-70/71 and State Route 315 interchange.
This $280 million project represents the largest transportation investment on a single construction project in central Ohio to date.
“Three years ago, this project was in jeopardy of being canceled, but it is thanks to Governor DeWine’s leadership that we’re here announcing the start of this important work to update the downtown corridor,” said Director Marchbanks.
Ohio has already invested $700 million into the overall Downtown Ramp Up mega-project, with another $250 million of committed funding for future phases that will provide two continuous lanes of I-70 and I-71 in each direction. The redesigned entrance and exit ramps along the corridor will help motorists when changing lanes. Currently, this section of freeway averages nearly 900 crashes per year and consistently ranks among the highest crash locations in the state.
“In the coming years, there will be a lot of change in this downtown corridor, and it will require drivers to adapt,” said ODOT Interim District 6 Deputy Director Anthony Turowski. “If you can endure the inconvenience on the front end, your return on investment in the long run will be worth it when it comes to safer and more efficient travel through the capital city.”
The current phases of construction through downtown are expected to continue through 2026. To learn more about the project, click here.