I-73 through Columbus and Delaware County

This is the area of the state that I'm most familiar with in reference to I-73. It was also one of the most difficult areas for the planners to convince the public as to theneed for I-73. No one, and I mean NO ONE(!) wanted an interstate going near them disrupting ecological areas, farmland, and property values. The planners tried to play one side of the county off on the other, but after a couple of years all the citizens caught on.

Starting at the Delaware/Marion Co line near Norton.....

Wouldbe Norton interchange
When US 23 was widen and the new bypass was built through Marion County; Norton, in Northern Delaware County, was bypassed. When traveling US 23 south, on either side of Norton, it appears an interchange with Oh 229 was originally considered. My proof is the leftover exit ramps to and from SB US 23.

Of course this is the wrong way. This is the "ramp" from SB US 23 to Oh 229 north of Norton. It is unmarked on US 23 so it is easy to miss it.

Looking south on Old US 23 (signed as Norton-Waldo Rd in Delaware Co). Oh 229 turns left here and continues east to Ashley, Marengo, and Mt. Vernon.
Before the US 23 bypass, this was the original west end for Oh 229 (it now ends at Oh 47 between Norton and Waldo).

While ramps were built for SB US 23 traffic, the only thing done for the NB side was moving roads aside to allow ramps to be built. This would be the intersection between Oh 229 and the ramps to and fro US 23 NB.

If ODOT was to build an interchange and take out the intersection between US 23 and Oh 229, the ramps for NB US 23 would be built, then US 23 would have to bridge over Oh 229. If Oh 229 were to bridge over US 23, the rest of Norton would be taken out, and the uproar from the public wouldn't let that happen.

This is the former route for US 23 in Norton before the Norton-Waldo-Marion bypass was built in the 1960s. According to Delaware County records, this stretch of road is considered as Oh 423 (see here). However, ODOT records have Oh 423 ending in Waldo (see here). Either way, upkeep of this current road is narrower than before by examination of the shoulders on either side of this road.

The south end of old US 23 merging into the 4 lane present day US 23.
The orange barrels are in reference to the Test Pavement section along US 23 between Norton and Delaware State Park.

The Test Pavement Section

For whatever the reason, US 23 from the Delaware St. Park enterance to Norton had a unseeming wide median. So, back in the early 1990s it was decided that two more 2 lane sections would be built inbetween current US 23 (I remember local TV coverage of nature group(s?) going about the median trying to pick up and save "wildflowers" that would be trampled over by the new road back when I was still in High School)

If I-73 were to be built before the study was completed, I do not know which collection or roadways would be kept for use.

Looking NB on the "new" lanes. In 2002, traffic traveled NB on the new lanes, while SB traveled on the "old" lanes.

Now I'm traveling SB on US 23. At least the signage is consistant for both the "new" lanes and the "old" lanes. Some of the traffic signs made for the (would be) unused sections is interesting through here.

At the southern end of the Test Pavement section. Jersey Barrier for the begining and orange barrels block access to the "old" NB lanes.

BGS for the Test Section reads, Experimental Test Pavement Next 4 Miles (Yes I'll get a better picture).

It will be near here that I-73 leaves US 23 to head east to I-71. Planners decided they would try to shoehorn I-73 between Delaware Lake Dam and a railroad overpass (unseen due to traffic) ahead. I-73 would circle around Delaware to the east to meet up with US 36/Oh 37.

It is near here that I-73 would supposedly meet with US 36/Oh 37 and head east (facing ahead in this photo) towards I-71.
US 36 between Delaware and I-71 is divided with 4 lanes, but has plenty of crossing local roads to deal with.

Just after (or before pending on the direction you're heading) the Alum Creek Reservoir crossing I-73 and US 36/Oh 37 would split, probally at the crest of the hill ahead. US 36 would continue on to I-71 with a bunch of fast food restaurants, hotels, and truck stops along the way, while I-73 would head slightly to the south and then on to I-71 as well (I guess Ohio would try not to make another Breezewood or Beaverdam).

It would be near this point I-73 would meet up with I-71 to go into Columbus.
There had been discussion before about the weigh station being moved north of US 36/Oh 37 because the I-73/71 interchange would be located here. Seems odd if you think about it.

The official plans had I-73 going around Columbus via I-270 to the east. Personally, I think it would be just as well to keep I-73 in tandom with I-71 through Columbus.

Link to I-71 Columbus Photos

Link to I-270 Columbus Photos

Otherwise, picking up I-73 on the south end of Columbus...

Big Green Sign for US 23 from I-270 EB on the southside of Columbus. This was one of the first interchanges built for I-270 and is a 3/4 cloverleaf with a flyover ramp from US 23 NB to I-270 WB. Official plans have I-73 leaving I-270 and rejoining US 23 (after a 35 mile break) to head south again.

Old school house on the east side of US 23 between I-270 and Oh 317/665.

This first traffic light is for Oh 317. It was extend south (and west) to US 23 in the early 70s.

This is the western end of Oh 665 (just a 1/4 south of Oh 317). 665 originally continued east to Groveport, but was truncated at the same time Oh 317 was extended. Franklin County and the City of Columbus do have on their wishlist a proposal to make this a 4-way intersection and make Oh 317 a 4 lane highway east from US 23 to Rickenbacker Airport.

Downtown South Bloomfield. The traffic light I'm stopped at (and the one ahead) are for Oh 316.
In the original plans Shadeville and South Bloomfield are both sort of ignored with I-73 running roughshod through them. In my opinion I-73 should leave US 23 between Circleville and South Bloomfield and head northwest to I-71 in Southern Franklin County. But that is one amateur's opinion.

Page created on August 21, 2003/ last updated on September 26, 2003

Questions, comments, submissions can be sent to Sandor Gulyas

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