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Published: Tuesday, 11/14/2000

State supports U.S. 20/23 road designs

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - State officials plan to build a traditional interchange when work begins in 2003 to upgrade the troublesome Wood County intersection of State Rt. 420 and U.S. 20/23.

The proposed design that the Ohio Department of Transportation announced yesterday includes a full interchange on U.S. 20/23 at Pemberville Road.

Michael Stormer, the district planning engineer at ODOT's Bowling Green office, said the interchange layout was decided after meetings with personnel from the department's Columbus headquarters.

A project meeting May 23 in Woodville revealed no clear public preference among the options state officials presented, he noted.

Instead, most of the discussion at the public meeting focused on how soon construction might begin and how quickly the state would need to condemn nearby property.

Joe Rutherford, a spokesman for the ODOT district office, said yesterday that land acquisition will begin in 2002. But it is too early to say exactly how many homes will have to be taken for the project, he said.

Letters went out Friday to all homes near the intersection to apprise residents of ODOT's recommendation.

ODOT plans to eliminate all driveway access to U.S. 20/23 near the Route 420 junction, so the state could end up buying houses whose land it doesn't need for construction because their access to the road will be cut off. But the department could offer to build an access road behind the houses if enough residents want to stay, Mr. Rutherford said.

The tentative ODOT design calls for overpasses carrying Route 420 and Pemberville Road over U.S. 20/23 and interchange ramps at both locations. The only change in the layout for the same design shown at the May meeting is a ramp added for eastbound traffic on U.S. 20/23 to use to get to the Pemberville road exit.

Combining Pemberville traffic with traffic entering the junction from southbound Route 420 eliminates a potential conflict between motorists using the Route 420 entrance and those taking the Pemberville exit, Mr. Rutherford said.

The interchange project, which is expected to cost between $10 million and $12 million, is scheduled to take two construction seasons to build.

State officials said the project will be designed to accommodate a future widening of U.S. 20/23 to four lanes, from its current two, between the interchange and Woodville. But for now, Mr. Stormer said, no funds have been assigned to the widening, though district officials plan to request funding for that project next spring as part of the state's process for ranking major highway expansion projects.



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