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TRAC approves Portsmouth Bypass

By Frank Lewis

July 25, 2013

Frank Lewis


PDT Staff Writer


A major step has been taken in finalizing the plans for the construction of the proposed Scioto County Bypass project.


The state’s Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) Thursday gave preliminary approval to Gov. John R. Kasich’s “Jobs and Transportation Plan” – a robust proposal to create as many as 60,000 new jobs and grow Ohio’s economy with a $3 billion investment that accelerates key highway projects. Included in that plan was the $440.5 million Scioto County Bypass.


The TRAC voted nine to zero to advance the governor’s plan, which includes $1.5 billion generated by bonds backed by Ohio Turnpike profits. The remaining $1.5 billion will come from federal, state and local sources.


“The governor’s plan not only helps generate $3 billion for Ohio’s economically-critical highway system, but it accelerates needed projects in some cases by decades and it does it without a tax increase. It’s an innovative approach that shakes up the status quo in a way that Ohio needs and I appreciate the TRAC’s strong support so the plan can move forward,” ODOT Director and TRAC Chairman Jerry Wray said.


The project will be a four-lane, divided, limited-access highway around the city of Portsmouth in Scioto County. The highway designated State Route 823 is comprised of 16 miles of new highway, bypassing approximately 26 miles of U.S. 52 and U.S. 23 through Portsmouth, Ohio. ODOT also proposes the long-term operations and maintenance of the constructed facility.


The nine-member TRAC was established by the Ohio Revised Code in 1997 and provides guidance for developing a project selection process for ODOT’s largest investments of more than $12 million


ODOT officials will present certain projects to the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission in August. The TRAC will then vote to finalize the list in September. Construction for some of the approved projects could begin as early as this year.


This most recent TRAC vote automatically launches a written public comment period which ends Friday, Aug. 16, 2013. Written public comments may be sent to the following addresses: trac@dot.state.oh.us, or to the Ohio Department of Transportation, C/O Jim Gates, 1980 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43223.


More information about the Bypass plan, including maps and a timeline, is available at portsmouthbypass.com.


Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.