Long-term changes coming to the East Side Split

Construction at the East Side Split (WBNS 10TV, Molly Brewer)
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COLUMBUS – One of the busiest stretches of roadway across central Ohio is about to get a little cozier.

As it stands now, the stretch of I-70 across downtown Columbus already backs up during peak drive times due to congestion in the area.

“This particular area, we just have so many entrance and exit ramps while we have two interstates overlapping so that’s kind of what has led to a lot of safety concerns, congestion, as some people come off and exit in the same place. So we’re consolidating a lot of those ramps and trying to improve the downtown circulation and the interstate flow,” said Breanna Badanes, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

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To improve the traffic flow, ODOT announced two major changes that will go into effect this August:

  1. Both directions of I-70 will be shifted to the westbound bridge that carries traffic from the east side, past downtown, for one year. The bridge will host one westbound lane, as it does right now, along with the two eastbound lanes of I-70.
  2. Parsons Avenue will close between East Main Street and Mooberry Street for 60 days to demolish the existing roads, eventually re-building I-70 east over Parsons Avenue. Drivers should use Grant Avenue instead.

By bringing I-70 to the top layer, that allows us to eliminate those lane changes,” Badanes said.

As for impacts to nearby businesses, Badanes told 10TV that it is Nationwide Children’s Hospital that will feel most of the weight of these changes due to where it is located.

“This project is unique because of its proximity to Nationwide Children's, so they've been a player at the table as well,” Badanes said. “Working with them to make sure that they're not only informed but that they can help us reach their emergency responders and their ambulance drivers, that's key, especially when we have those big closures.”

These are the first of several major changes coming to the area.

Check back with 10TV this fall for an update on more permanent road closures at the East Side Split.

Tune in to 10 This Morning every morning from 4:25 to 7 a.m. for live traffic conditions or check 10TV.com/traffic for the latest information on impacts to central Ohio roads.