The Ohio Department of Transportation TRAC (Transportation Review Advisory Commission) has allocated $1.3 million to begin the process that could see Co. Rd. 24 become the new St. Rt. 66.
The Commission made the announcement last week.
Bob Seaman, village engineer, said the Village of Archbold submitted a proposal to upgrade the county road, but did not specify exactly what the upgraded road will be named.
“It could be Truck Route 66, or it could be State Route 66. We left our options open, but that (making Co. Rd. 24 the new St. Rt. 66) is what we believe will take place,” Seaman said.
For several months, even years, elected officials throughout Fulton, Henry, and Defiance counties have discussed using Co. Rd. 24 (Domersville Road in Defi- ance County) as a northsouth highway specifically for truck traffic.
Within the last few months, Defiance County dropped out of the plan.
Defiance County commissioners said they were concerned about the Tinora School District, which has buildings relatively close to the road.
The proposal approved by TRAC for development calls for Co. Rd. 24 to be upgraded in Fulton and Henry counties from US 6 in Henry County to US20A in Fulton County.
“Archbold, Fulton County, and Henry County support the project,” Seaman said.
“We at Archbold have safety concerns about trucks being downtown.”
Semi trucks, particularly those with 53-foot trailers, have difficulty negotiating the North Defiance Street- Stryker Street intersection, which is also the intersection of St. Rts. 2 and 66.
Several truck trailers have become impaled on metal posts installed to keep trucks from encroaching on the sidewalks and striking buildings at the intersection.
Seaman said upgrading Co. Rd. 24 could make it easier for trucks serving local industries to move in and out of the village.
It could also make it easier for employees who live outside Archbold to travel to and from work.
“There are a couple of businesses– ConAgra and Bil- Jax– who are very supportive of this,” Seaman said.
Both businesses are on the west side of the village. Both would benefit from easier and safer access to the highway.
The Co. Rd. 24 project is one of several the state promises to fund from Ohio Turnpike tolls.
State officials are selling bonds to raise $1.5 billion for highway projects.
The bonds will be repaid from future turnpike toll revenue.
The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission must approve projects that will be funded from bond revenue.
The projects must have a nexus, or connection, to the turnpike.
However, Rick Hodges, turnpike commission executive director, said ODOT may not need turnpike bond money to do the development phase of the Co. Rd. 24 project.
Steve Faulkner, ODOT press secretary, said the Co. Rd. 24 project is considered a Tier II project.
A Tier II project must go three steps before it can advance to a Tier I level.
Tier I projects are considered ready for construction.
To advance to Tier I, preliminary engineering must be completed, which includes an environmental impact statement.
The impact statement is required by the federal government.
After preliminary engineering, detailed design work must be completed, and any land needed for right-of-ways purchased.
When all of the preliminary work is done, a request to move to Tier I, which includes construction money, goes before TRAC.
Theresa Pollick, ODOT District 2 spokesman, said the time frame for the project currently is not known.
Seaman said the original application filed by Archbold with TRAC puts an estimated $17.5 million price tag on the project.
In 2009, the village constructed an extension of Nolan Parkway, one of the roads in the village industrial park, to Co. Rd. 24.
It effectively forms a “back door” to the Industrial Park.
Seaman said if Co. Rd. 24 becomes St. Rt. 66, “it could become the front door.”–David Pugh