The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) opened the last on ramp of the Northeast Expressway Transformation (NExT) project in northern Franklin County July 14. The ramp, on Sunbury Road just east of Executive Parkway, gives motorists an even safer and more direct route from Sunbury Road to I-270 northbound.
The ramp is the final major piece of the NExT project to be constructed. The four-year $126 million project is Central Ohio’s largest to date, and included the reconstruction of the SR 161 interchanges at Sunbury Road and I-270. ODOT built 18 ramps, 17 bridges, 65 retaining walls, a 30-ft. (9 m) tunnel, and 5 mi. (8 km) of roadway covering 300 acres of land as part of the project.
In addition to improving safety and reducing congestion along this corridor, SR 161 is a gateway to economic development in Northern Franklin County. More than 5,000 of the vehicles travelling through this corridor are trucks carrying vital goods and cargo to Central Ohio. An average of $220 million in goods moves through the State Route 161/I-270 interchange each day. This freight is now moving easier than ever before.
The original roadway was designed in the 1960’s to handle 58,000 vehicles a day. More than 135,000 vehicles currently use the new roadway each day.
Work remaining on the NExT project includes final paving and bridge painting. Construction is expected to be complete by fall of this year.