The federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 established "High Priority Corridors" on the National Highway System (NHS). ISTEA clearly establishes several goals for these corridors including:
One of the High Priority Corridors is the Great Lakes/Mid-Atlantic Corridor (GL/MAC), defined in the Act as: "I-73/I-74 North-South Corridor from Charleston, South Carolina, through Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Portsmouth, Ohio, to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan" (Section 1109).
The Ohio Turnpike Act, Chapter 5537 of the Ohio Revised Code, authorized the Ohio Turnpike Commission to have jurisdiction over an Ohio Turnpike System, including existing and future Turnpike projects at locations approved by the Governor of Ohio. Governor George V. Voinovich has approved the location of the proposed Great Lakes/Mid-Atlantic Corridor in Ohio as a Turnpike System project to be studied, and if feasible, to be carried out by the Ohio Turnpike Commission.
In June 1994, the Ohio Turnpike Commission entered into a contract with the Ohio Corridor Development Consortium (OCDC), a joint venture of the national engineering firm of HNTB Corporation, Cleveland and two major construction management firms: Tumer Construction Company and Dick Enterprises. The joint venture also includes the Ohio based firms of Resource International Inc., Columbus, and Great Lakes Construction Company, Cleveland. The joint venture will provide Project Management Consultant services to the Commission for the Feasibility Study Phase of the Project and for the Design and Construction Implementation Phase, if authorized.
Project History and Legislation
The U.S. 23 corridor and the S.R. 32 corridor are on the draft National Highway System (NHS) currently under consideration by the U.S. Congress. The NHS was established to focus federal resources on loads that are most important to interstate travel and national defense; roads that connect with other modes of transportation; and roads that are essential for international commerce. The GL/MAC is listed in ISTEA as a High Priority Corridor.
ACCESS OHIO, a study performed for the Ohio Department of Transportation, establishes the state's long-range transportation plan. Both the U.S. 23 and the S.R. 32 corridors are identified as "macro-corridors," defined as "those corridors of statewide significance upon which rests the economic vitality of Ohio (ACCESS OHIO, page 36). Both corridors are shown as requiring improvements on the plan. The Ohio Department of Development has defined both the U.S. 23 and S.R. 32 corridors as Transportation Efficiency and Economic Advancement Corridors (TEEACs). Many cities, counties, and agencies have passed resolutions supporting the idea (without specific routing or funding plans) of the GL/MAC.
Commercial activity, first in the form of services (gasoline stations, restaurants, etc.) would develop, and population growth would be realized. Improved transportation facilities will reduce transportation costs. This can benefit local commerce as dollars not spent on transportation would be spent on other items. Additionally, local industry would reduce transportation costs, therein reducing costs, increasing their competitive edge, and resulting in higher profits and possible expansion of facilities. Lower costs and efficient/enhanced transportation would induce new industries to develop and serve existing industry. By connecting local transportation facilities to regional facilities, the market and service areas are expanded. Construction of the GL/MAC would have a positive effect on Ohio's economy.
The corridor is now the subject of a feasibility study, of
which the screening portion has been completed. The objectives
Early efforts involved performing field inventories, contracting a number of agencies and meeting with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and regional planning agencies. Information obtained was then compiled on physical constraint maps which, along with the factors outlined in the Statement of Purpose and Need, acted as the framework for screening. Twelve such factors were deemed relevant to the screening process:
One objective was to develop corridors with sufficient flexibility to accommodate future travel needs and demands. As a result, a number of alternate facility types were considered. Alternative concepts included a super two-lane highway, a four-lane expressway, a multi-lane limited-access highway, a two-lane highway with provisions for expansion to four lanes, and a multilane, multi-modal superhighway complete with automated vehicle lanes and rail lines (not pictured). The right-of-way requirements for each of the aforementioned facilities were taken into account during corridor placement. The alternative concepts will be used to make a preliminary projection of feasibility relative to need, cost, and impacts during the performance of subsequent feasibility studies.
Criteria were established to reduce the number of alternatives to be further studied. Screening was undertaken to ensure that corridor alignments minimally impacted surrounding properties, avoided environmentally sensitive areas, and minimized total cost. Determining parameters and other controls described earlier, along with environmental constraints and estimated costs, were the primary criteria for screening corridors. Additional factors were also considered, including length, displacements, level of service of existing facilities, and long-term economic development potential. To reduce the number of alternative corridors, a three tiered screening process was developed.
Alternates for Future Study
It is the dual purpose to reduce the original study area to a handful of mile-wide corridors and identify corridors having minimal environmental impacts and overall cost. It is not the intent of the study to identify or recommend specific beginning-to-end corridor locations. As such, the remaining corridors were analyzed on a comparative basis only within their respective segment. Six geographical segments have been identified, each representing a study area that will be examined during subsequent feasibility and Stage I Studies. Additional work to be performed during the ensuing Feasibility Studies includes development of Major Investment Studies in accordance with the latest applicable federal and state guidelines.
The overall corridor has been divided into six segments for
detailed study by design consultants:
Stage I work includes the refinement of the corridors identified in the initial screening process to approximately 600 meters in width. This will be governed primarily by avoiding as many environmentally sensitive or economically significant features as possible while applying all appropriate engineering design criteria, resulting in a determination of feasible corridor alternatives. A series of public meetings will be held to appraise officials and the general public of the study progress and obtain input which will be used to help in refining the feasibility corridors. A report will be prepared and made available for review which will discuss advantages and disadvantages of the corridors studied, discuss public input, and, finally, identify feasible corridors for further study.
Stage 2 will further investigate each feasible alternative and determine the magnitude of the impacts. Further engineering refinements will be made and an Environmental Assessment document describing the impacts of each alternative will be prepared.The goal of Stage 2 is to select a preferred alternative. Stage 3, Evaluation for Significance, will complete all environmental documentation and preliminary engineering for the preferred alternate for review by appropriate resource agencies.
It is expected that the GL/MAC will serve to further stimulate interstate travel between the Upper Midwest (Michigan and northeastern Indiana) and the southeastern United States (West Virginia and the Carolinas) in addition to providing upgraded transportation facilities to a significant portion of Ohio.
Created September 26, 2000, web design originally by Andy Field and Alex Nitzman, text by Andy Field and Sandor Gulyas/ transferred to roadfan.com October 2, 2001, last updated October 2, 2001/ page redesigned on August 6, 2003
Questions and comments can be sent to Sandor Gulyas
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