Major projects are underway to expand Port Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio.
Work began on the International Gateway Interchange Construction Project with the first of two phases of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority cross-over taxiway in 2006.
The entire project begins at the on- and off-ramps at I-670 and ends beyond the new Loop Road project, which was designed to accommodate expansion at Port Columbus.
Of the four projects, the Perimeter Loop and International Gateway are Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) projects, while the Loop Road and cross-over taxiway are Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) projects.
“When ground was broken at Port Columbus [in 2006], it was more than just another roadway project for the Ohio Department of Transportation,” said Nancy Burton of ODOT’s district 6.
“The project embraces ODOT’s commitment to all forms of transportation by opening a gateway to international commerce using a multi-modal approach,” said James Beasley, ODOT’s director.
According to Burton, “a recent study done by ODOT shows Ohio’s airport system — including such major airports as Port Columbus and smaller county airports — generate nearly $11 billion in total economic activity for the state. The investments made to our highways contribute to the improved access to our airports.”
The taxiway bridge was built by C. J. Mahan Co.
George J. Igel & Co. Inc. of Columbus is building the new mainline that goes under the bridge.
“This is a partnership between the city of Columbus, CRAA, ODOT and the contractor Igel,” said Burton. The taxiway ties in to the “Blue Lot,” which was constructed by Shelly Co. Managed by CRAA, Complete General began the Loop Road project in 2007.
“In July 2007, partnering with the Federal Highway Administration, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority and the city of Columbus, ODOT awarded a $10.4 million contract to contractor George J. Igel & Co. Inc.,” said Burton.
Jon Pulcheon, project manager at Igel, gives examples of what it took to complete Project One, which involved relocating approximately 3,500 ft. (1,067 m) of International Gateway and widening approximately 2,400 ft. (730 m) of Stelzer Road:
• 174,000 cu. yd. (133,000 cu m) of excavation
• 101,000 sq. yd. (84,450 sq m) of cement stabilization
• 76,000 sq. yd. (63,500 sq m) of pavement removal
• 15,000 ft. (4,570 m) of underground utilities
• 62,000 tons (56,200 t) of asphalt pavement.
Igel expects to complete Project One by November 2008, according to Pulcheon.
The work on Stelzer Road must be nearly complete before work can begin on the last phase, which includes new on- and off-ramps at I-670 and the relocation of International Gateway to Perimeter Loop Road. Bidding was closed on July 16 for this final portion, listed as Project Two.
ODOT District 6 statistics show that each day more than 106,000 vehicles travel along I-670 at the airport exit. The average daily traffic (ADT) on International Gateway is 27,900 vehicles and 13,000 vehicles use the I-670 ramps every day.
“It doesn’t take an engineer to tell you this is a busy area, and it’s only going to get busier,” said Thomas J. Wester, ODOT District 6 deputy director.
According to Burton, four new bridges will be built along with the reconstruction of the I-670 ramp over Johnsontown Road. The reconfiguration of the entryway to Port Columbus will reduce congestion, improve safety and provide better access to the airport.
Also included will be twin bridges to carry motorists from I-670 to the terminal.
“These bridges will provide travelers with better and quicker access to the airport terminal since they will no longer have to wait at that traffic light at the intersection of International Gateway and Stelzer Road,” said Chuck Kiner, ODOT district 6 area engineer. Two new signals, installed as part of the first project at Stelzer Road will provide a direct link for local traffic.
“One bridge will link I-670 eastbound into the airport from Stelzer Road. The I-670 ramp from Johnstown Road will be reconstructed and widened. A new, high skew, single span, steel plate girder bridge will carry traffic over International Gateway to the Red Lot parking lot and terminal,” said Burton.
ODOT has proposed an historic 2008-2009 construction season with more than 1,000 projects statewide. ODOT plans to oversee $2.5 billion in construction contract awards — the largest amount ever awarded in that time frame. CEG