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|04-16-03: Could U.S. 127 be I-127?
|By SEAN RICE
The Daily Standard
What are the chances of U.S. 127 becoming a four-lane highway or
They are pretty slim, but that doesn't deter local officials from
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently finished a string
of public meetings across the state held to gather comments on its four-year State
Transportation Improvement Program.
The meetings, which are made mandatory by the federal government, are
intended to inform the public on what projects ODOT plans on funding through 2007. The
meetings, held during the first two weeks of April, outlined project plans for each of the
12 districts in the state. The plans are preliminary, and the meetings allowed for public
Celina City Councilman Bob Nuding attended one of the meetings last
week that outlined projects on tap for District 7, which includes Mercer, Auglaize,
Shelby, Darke, Logan, Champaign, Clark, Miami and Montgomery counties.
During 2003 and 2004, ODOT plans on resurfacing Ohio 29 east of Celina;
resurfacing Ohio 118, south of Celina; resurfacing U.S. 127 north of Celina; resurfacing
Ohio 49 from Ohio 29 to Fort Recovery; resurfacing Ohio 219 in Franklin Township; and
replacing numerous bridges on state roads. More road resurfacing and bridge replacements
are scheduled for 2005 through 2007.
Nuding told his fellow council members Monday that he filled the ears
of state officials with the need for a new interstate in western Ohio.
"We need to get the state's attention on this ... we need the
state then to push this on a federal level," Nuding told The Daily Standard this
At the meeting, Nuding said he was told that Interstate 75 is currently
handling eight times more traffic than originally intended.
Nuding said he pressed the idea of either widening U.S. 127 to four
lanes or creating another four-lane highway cutting through Mercer County to relieve
stress from Interstate 75.
"It will help with all the economic depression in western
Ohio," Nuding said.
Nuding told the council he envisions an interstate running from
Lansing, Mich., to the Dayton-Cincinnati area.
The issue of widening U.S. 127 has been on the minds of local officials
for many years, Councilman Rick Bachelor told Nuding on Monday.
Several years ago a committee was formed to investigate the prospect,
Bachelor said, but politics always got in the way. He pointed out an early plan to run a
highway parallel to Interstate 75, but the plans changed after big players in state
politics had the route changed to join I-75. The original idea was to provide an
alternative to Interstate 75, Bachelor said.
Nuding said the time to talk about the need for another four-lane has
passed; the need is clear.
"This has been going on for 15 to 20 years. Let's quit talking
about it and let's get moving," Nuding said. "If we don't do it, Indiana
Nuding said letters were sent to ODOT detailing this need from several
in city government and from Mercer County Economic Development Director Larry Stelzer.
Nuding said he called state Rep. Keith Faber also, and hopes to soon get the attention of
U.S. Reps. John Boehner and Paul Gilmore, who each represent Mercer County.
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