Dorr Streeet Interchange likely to get state approval

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TOLEDO - (WTVG) - The long discussed, and advocated, Dorr Street Interchange had been in jeopardy most of this year. But local funding is coming through and some of it may come from Toledo.

Toledo's contribution would be welcome but may not be necessary.

Both the city and the University of Toledo backed out of the 4-member partnership earlier this year.

Putting an interchange between Airport Highway and Central Avenue has been a priority for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for years.

Mike Gramza, who oversees construction projects for ODOT says, the interchange will "help with congestion in that area, help pull some of the traffic off of central avenue and will open up the corridor for economic development."

But money has always been key.

ODOT says this $40-million project needed at least $12-million from local sources.

Lucas County and Springfield Township have always been in. But finding a new third partner has not been easy.

Over the summer, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG) kicked in $4-million, helping the interchange project slowly gather speed.

David Gedeon, with TMACOG says, "We're clearing hurdles. We're getting there. This is the closest we've ever been."

The Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC), which approves money for road widening projects, saw TMACOG's contribution and now seems poised to green light another $17-million for the interchange.

Springfield Township Trustee, Andy Glenn, says, that interchange could mean fewer tax levies in the township. "it is prime real estate," Glenn told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann. "Businesses are chomping at the bit to be here."

Glenn also insists a new third partner is imminent, with all but a lawyer-approved contract left to sign.

"Yeah, we have a commitment for 3-million to come in as a full third partner," Glenn admitted.

So, with the $9-million in local money, TMACOG's $4-million, ODOT's $11-million and TRAC's $17 million, you get the $40-million needed.

And then there's Toledo...

Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson flipped on the issue during the mayoral campaign. After pulling the city out of the project, she has told ODOT the city would be willing to financially contribute; estimates are around $1 million for the interchange.

Mayor-elect Wade Kapszukiewicz is also willing to make a financial commitment, if the city has not made a contribution before he takes office and if that funding is needed.

Kapszukiewicz says, "I'm aware it's happening. I'm excited it's happening and we're not going to let the opportunity pass us by, this time."

A vote on the project is set for December 14. Funding is expected to be approved because there's a public hearing set for that night at Springfield Township Hall.

If public comment is favorable, it gets final approval in January.

Construction begins in 2020 and is completed just in time for the Solheim Cup in 2021.

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