US Route 30 Project Update
Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Transportation released the findings of their most recent study of extending US Route 30 from where it currently ends at Trump Avenue in Stark County to the Pennsylvania border at Route 11. US 30 is a four lane highway from the Ohio – Indiana border to Trump Avenue. At Trump it becomes two lanes and heads into town. For over 30 years folks in Stark, Carroll and Columbiana have tried to expand Route 3o to four lanes and get the massive amounts of truck and car traffic off of downtown Carrollton and streets in towns all across those three counties.
Now with Utica development on the rise, it is more important than ever to extend 30 from where the four lanes literally stop at Trump all the way to Route 11.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) completed a study of building the 35 miles extension and making it a toll road to pay for the construction.
Key findings of the study:
- It will cost $875 million to build the last 35 miles of US Route 30 from Trump Avenue to Route 11/ the PA border
- IF it were built and then made a toll access highway, and the tolls where .20 per mile, which is four times higher than the Ohio Turnpike, $475 million would be collected during the 20 year allotted time frame a highway could be tolled
- If you traveled the entire length of the toll road it would be a $7 trip one way
ODOT has concluded that the US Route 30 extension construction is not feasible at this time by making it a toll road. The next step is to study if it can be built using the idea of a super two. A super two is acquiring the land and right of way to build a four-lane highway but only building a two land road and then as funds become available building the other two lanes.
ODOT uses a system to build roads, highways, bridges and other infrastructure investment called TRAC, also known as Transportation Review Advisory Council. This council takes all requests for new, repair and improvement projects and creates a list of priorities for the state. Those projects are funded starting with the first one and working down the list. At this time the TRAC system is $1.5 billion short of all of the projects listed. If the Governor signs House Bill 51, which he is expected to do, which is the bipartisan bill to bond against future toll money from the Ohio Turnpike, $1.5 billion would become available for those projects. However the US Route 30 extension is not currently in the TRAC system.
At this point there are really only two other options to fund the expansion. One is to create a special tax district like a TID to collect funds. A TID is a Transportation Improvement District. The other option is to collect and put into a fund all of the Cleveland Casino money these three counties will collect over the next several years. Neither of these ideas is a complete solution and both will take many years to collect enough funds to even begin the project.
This project is important not only those living and working within these three counties, but to the oil and gas industry as well. Having Route 30 be a four lane highway would increase delivery time and reduce the chance of a traffic accident. This project needs and will get further review from both the state and the counties involved. There will be additional traffic in the coming years due to increased shale development from the current 5,800 vehicles to 13,600 vehicles in the next few years.