East State St. and U.S. Route 33 interchange alternative selected

ATHENS – The City of Athens announced Friday the selection of Alternative 1, the Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) with existing ramp configuration, to replace the current E. State. St. and US 33 interchange. Once built, this Diverging Diamond Interchange will be the first in southeastern Ohio.

“The East State Street Corridor is one of the most heavily travelled roadways in southeastern Ohio today, therefore improving the efficiency and safety of this interchange is paramount,” said Athens City Engineer & Director of Public Works Andrew Stone, PE. “The city is committed to this alternative as the best approach to reduce crashes, ease congestion that affects this vibrant business corridor, and improve conditions for both pedestrians and motorists in eastern Athens.”

Originally designed in the 1960s and built more than 40 years ago, today’s traffic volumes have outgrown the current E. State St. and US 33 interchange design standards. Moreover, the E. State St. corridor has developed into one of the city’s premier retail corridors. This growth has not only increased traffic and crashes in the area, but has raised safety concerns for pedestrians. The new interchange will improve traffic flow and safety as well as enhance pedestrian connectivity.

A DDI eliminates the need for left turn arrows, which increases the capacity of the interchange and improves safety by reducing the number of potential vehicle conflict points.

Athens and ODOT worked extensively with local stakeholders and received input from area businesses, agencies, residents, and emergency responders. Public outreach will continue throughout the planning process including an educational component similar to the Richland Ave. roundabout.

With an alternative selected, the consultant Parsons Princkerhoff will deliver the corridor study to the city by August. The city will use the study to apply for ODOT safety funds in September. Construction is currently estimated to begin 2016.