Archbold Village Council was told the relocation of St. Rt. 66 to Co. Rd. 24 is ranked the third-most important transportation projection in Northwest Ohio during its Monday, March 7 meeting.
Dennis Howell, village administrator, said that gives the project “a good chance of being funded.”
Howell said the Maumee Valley Planning organization created a group known as “Moving Together” to advise the Ohio Department of Transportation TRAC, or Transportation Review Advisory Committee.
It was “Moving Together” that learned of the St. Rt. 66 project status.
Jeff Fryman, mayor, said Michael McCann, Defiance mayor, told him Tuesday, March 1, Defiance City Council passed a resolution supporting the relocation.
Also, Fryman said Jerry Hayes, Defiance County Economic Development executive director, said that organization’s Board of Trustees voted to support the proposal.
Currently, Fryman said the support of Defiance City Council and Defiance County Economic Development only extends from the St. Rt. 66- Ohio Turnpike interchange south to St. Rt. 6, but Fryman said other plans are in the works.
Howell said Brian Davis, a Williams County commissioner and member of ODOT TRAC, said the St. Rt. 66 relocation project is the only project before the TRAC board that has a direct “nexus,” or connection, to the Ohio Turnpike.
The connection issue is important, because proposals are to fund the upgrade of Co. Rd. 24 to state highway status with money raised from the sale of bonds, which will be repaid by Ohio Turnpike toll revenue.
John Kasich, Ohio governor (R), announced the funding plan, Dec. 13, 2012, in Toledo.
Eventually, $1.5 billion in bonds were sold.
Road projects benefiting from toll road bonds need to have a nexus, or connection, to the turnpike to qualify for funds.
The Defiance City Council resolution states that council “finds that improvement of county roads adjacent to the village of Archbold to enable realignment of State Routes 2 and 66 to bypass the downtown business district of Archbold, Ohio, and provide a more expeditious route for the shipment of goods from Defiance to the Ohio Turnpike will benefit the city of Defiance and does, therefore, encourage the Ohio Department of Transportation to proceed with the proposed improvements and highway realignment.”
The original plan for the relocation of St. Rt. 66 was to extend from the turnpike interchange south along Fulton Co. Rd. 24, Henry Co. Rd. 24, and Domersville Road in Defiance County, to East Second Street-St. Rt. 281 on the east side of Defiance near the General Motors Central Foundry.
The three county roads would align into one continuous highway.
However, early on, Defiance County commissioners balked at the idea of using Domersville Road because the Tinora School District has a building close to the road, at the intersection of Domersville and Banner School roads.
At that point, the decision was made to stop St. Rt. 66 at US 6 in Henry County.
Currently, an engineering consulting firm, Tetra Tech, with an office in Toledo, is performing a pre-engineering and environmental feasibility study.
The $1.5-million study was approved by Archbold Village Council at its Monday, Dec. 7, 2015 meeting.
It is anticipated to take up to 18 months.
The village of Archbold is contributing $249,217 to the Tetra Tech study, with ODOT paying for the remainder.
While there is support for the highway realignment, there also is opposition.
Among the opposition are Archbold merchants, who fear moving St. Rt. 66 from Archbold will lead to decreased traffic in their business places.
Other opposition includes homeowners along Co. Rd. 24, who do not want highway traffic rumbling past their homes.
Members of the agricultural community oppose the project, fearing the loss of easy access to the Gerald Grain Center, located on Co. Rd. 24 west of Archbold, and the mixing of high-speed car and truck traffic with slow-moving farm equipment.