Within the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Dublin has a strong north-south road network that converges on downtown Columbus. In contrast, the area has an underdeveloped east-west road network, based in large part on the expense involved in bridging the Scioto River. This pattern continues to constrain movement and development within the city.
The There have been significant improvements made to the transportation network between 2000 and 2010. These enhancements are reflected in the improved transportation ratings by respondents to the City’s recent Resident Satisfaction Surveys. From 2006 through 2010, between 84 and 87 percent of respondents rated Dublin’s traffic and roadways as excellent or good, (compared to 80.7 percent in both 2004 and 2002, and only 58.7 percent in 2000). The 2010 survey also indicated 86 percent excellent/good ratings for the ease of traffic flow on the city’s modern roundabouts, compared to 76 percent in 2008 and 74.2 percent in 2006. Although transportation received an “excellent/good” rating in recent surveys, responses also indicate that improvement to the road system remains a priority. Improving traffic and roadways is consistently indicated as one of the top goals for the community.
This chapter outlines existing traffic conditions, traffic volumes, identified capacity problems and planned roadway improvements.
Traffic Volumes and Capacity Issues
A variety of sources of traffic data are used to study Dublin’s transportation system including traffic count inventories from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT); Franklin, Delaware, and Union Counties; the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC); and the City of Dublin. These available counts were supplemented with 16 additional targeted inventories that consisted of 11 total weekday traffic counts and five AM and PM peak hour turning movement counts. AM and PM peak hour volumes were defined for all count locations. Collected data was used to validate the Cube/Voyager travel demand computer model developed for the planning process. Please refer to PROJECTIONS for more information on the travel demand modeling process.
Based on the inventories, the heaviest used roadways in the modeling area are identified below. Bridges that cross the Scioto River south of Glick Road also experience high traffic volumes. (Although Sawmill Road is listed, it is located along Dublin’s eastern edge and is a roadway controlled and maintained by the City of Columbus.)
At present, drivers experience congestion and delays at several locations based on units of measurement known as Levels of Service and Volume to Capacity Ratios. Those roadway segments where the limits of these measures are stressed or exceeded and the general causes include the following:
- I-270 north and east of the U.S. 33/SR 161 interchange, including weaving problems on I-270 at the interchange;
- SR 161 between Hyland-Croy Road and Cosgray Road: U.S. 33 freeway ramps and insufficient through and turning lanes during the PM peak hour;
- Glick Road and Dublin Road intersection during the PM peak hour: lack of turning lanes and intersection capacity;
- Avery-Muirfield Drive corridor along the Post Road, Perimeter Drive, and Perimeter Loop Road intersections: weaving conflicts to access commercial areas, intersection spacing problems, U.S. 33/SR 161 ramp back-ups and through traffic to access Dublin’s northern neighborhoods;
- Frantz Road at its intersections with U.S. 33/SR 161 and Metro Place North: high employment traffic volumes;
- Sawmill Road from Bethel Road to Hard Road, including major problems at the I-270 interchange: lane restrictions north of the Interstate;
- Frantz Road between Tuttle Crossing Boulevard and Hayden Run Road: commercial traffic and congestion points at the Hayden Run Bridge; and
- Riverside Drive (U.S. 33) south of SR 161 to Fishinger Road: scenic character along the River with two lanes of travel and limited left turn lanes.
While these capacity problems are primarily experienced during the traditional commuter rush (peak) hours, lunch hour congestion is felt in the areas of Frantz Road, Avery-Muirfield Drive and U.S. 33/SR 161. In addition, extreme weekend congestion and delays are experienced along the Sawmill Road and Powell Road corridors because of the the adjacent retail activity and the Columbus Zoo.
Other extreme congestion with stop-and-go conditions are encountered on many weekday evenings (especially Friday) along the I-270 North Outerbelt through Dublin. When this happens, drivers often divert to Dublin’s internal streets, placing an increased demand especially on river crossings. This can create significant delay and congestion across the entire roadway system.
While U.S. 33 and I-270 provide access for trips that start or end within Dublin, they also carry high volumes of traffic through the city. Dublin Road, Riverside Drive, Sawmill Road, Avery Road, and U.S. 33 are also part of the regional road network. As new developments occur in Union and Delaware Counties, a significant portion of the traffic generated will be attracted to Dublin’s I-270 and U.S. 33 interchanges or other areas along I-270. This regional traffic absorbs a portion of available roadway capacity for the Dublin area.
Planned and Programmed Roadway Improvements
Of the several proposed and/or planned roadway improvements shown in the Thoroughfare Plan, some have been completed; others are under construction or are being designed. These proposed or planned facilities include the following:
- Emerald Parkway east from Riverside Drive to Wright’s Run (under design and acquisition underway);
- Emerald Parkway widening, from Tuttle Crossing Boulevard to Glendon Court (construction underway);
- U.S. 33/SR 161 interchange improvements. (under final design with construction delayed until funding partners found);
- West Innovation District internal roadway network (planned);
- Tuttle Crossing Boulevard extension to Avery Road and further to the west to connect with Houchard Road west of Amlin (planned);
- Bridge Street District grid street system (planned);
- Wyandotte Woods Boulevard extension to Emerald Parkway (planned); and
- Avery Road widening from U.S. 33/SR 161 interchange south to city corporate line (first phase complete, remaining phases planned).
- In addition to the work being undertaken by Dublin, the City of Hilliard, City of Columbus, Franklin County, Delaware County and ODOT, have scheduled several roadway improvement projects, including the following:
- Sawmill Parkway extension north from its existing northern terminus at Home Road north to Airport Road (under final design);
- Riggins Road extension from Wilcox Road west to Avery Road (planned);
- Hayden Run Boulevard extension from existing terminus west of the CSX railroad tracks to Avery Road (planned);
- I-270 improvements widening from I-70 to U.S. 33 to the outside, creating a four lane basic roadway section in each direction (planned);
- I-270 reconstruction from the Roberts Road interchange south to U.S. 62 in Grove City (under construction);
- I-270/U.S. 33 interchange improvements to be constructed in phases (planned);
- U.S. 33/Avery-Muirfield Drive interchange improvements (planned);
- U.S. 33/McKitrick Road interchange construction (planned); and
- U.S. 33 widening from I-270 to Avery-Muirfield Drive to the outside, creating a four-lane basic roadway section with auxiliary lanes in each direction (planned).
Of greatest regional significance is the planned widening and interchange improvements of the Outerbelt on the northwest side of the greater Columbus area. Congestion along I-270 and U.S. 33/SR 161 is moderate to severe and will worsen as traffic volumes increase over the next 25 years. Two freeway segments currently operate at a Level of Service (LOS) “E” during the PM peak hour: westbound lanes of U.S. 33/SR 161 between I-270 and Avery-Muirfield Drive and the westbound lanes of I-270 between Sawmill Road and U.S. 33.
While new development has created thousands of jobs, it has also caused transportation challenges. The I-270 widening projects will assist in relieving the associated congestion with two new lanes in each direction, with auxiliary lanes, planned for the corridor on the northwest side. The new lanes will be outside the existing lanes first, and then to the inside in order to retain the width of the median for as long as possible and to minimize expenses by purchasing rights-of-way earlier.
In addition to the freeway widening, several interchange improvements, the I-270/Cemetery Road, I-270/Tuttle Crossing Boulevard, and the I-270/U.S. 33/SR 161 interchanges are all expected in the next 25 years. In particular the I-270/U.S. 33/SR 161 interchange has received priority status by ODOT, with the possibility of construction beginning in the next five years. Additionally, ODOT has identified the U.S. 33/SR 161 interchanges at Avery-Muirfield Drive, McKitrick Road, and U.S. 42 for construction in the future. Timing of these improvements is uncertain given the lack of predictability of transportation funding in the State of Ohio. The City of Dublin actively cooperates with ODOT and other state and federal leaders to advance these important projects.
Each of these improvements is necessary even with the widening of I-270 to three lanes in this area; it was clear that this widening alone could not totally solve the mobility problems in the northwest corridor. Added to this is the need for other general improvements to crossroads and other roadways on the surface street system. MORPC is preparing to meet these needs by coordinating regional efforts to manage and reduce the demand for travel through increased transit service and travel demand management strategies that can eliminate trips or change when those trips occur.