The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is seeking public input about whether to add Smartlanes to an interstate in downtown Columbus.
The proposed $90 million project would impact existing infrastructure on I-71’s northbound and southbound lanes between 5th Avenue and State Route 161.
Smartlanes are used to facilitate the flow of traffic during heavy and light traffic. When there is heavy traffic, the lane opens up as indicated by a green arrow on accompanying electronic boards. The shoulder closes when traffic is light, or when first responders require it.
Brooke Ebersole, ODOT spokesperson says Smartlanes will ease congestion, improve travel time and reduce the number of crashes.
"This is an area that sees a lot of to and from traffic. So, it's a lot of people traveling from up north to the downtown corridor. And in the afternoon maybe they are going back up to maybe Dublin, Marysville, Westerville," Ebersole said.
Ebersole said the project will include improving highway bridges along the route, as well as paving the Smartlane shoulder and adding electronic boards along the effected stretch of highway.
ODOT is seeking public input on the project. Those interested may offer thoughts on designs, impacts on the community, and the overall project proposal.
There will be opportunities for input during two sessions on May 25. The first virtual session is set for noon and the second for 6 p.m. at the Linden Community Center at 1350 Briarwood Avenue.
If ODOT moves forward with the project, construction would start in 2025 and finish by 2028.