Columbus to Pittsburgh Corridor Association pushing forward

| August 3, 2018

COSHOCTON – The Columbus to Pittsburgh Corridor Association has reformed and is working hard to get its project back on the radar of federal and state officials.

Press conferences were held by the group in both Steubenville and Coshocton on July 31.

“We want to have four lanes connecting Columbus and Pittsburgh,” said Ed Looman, who is the chairman of the association and the project manager APEG. “There are only 47 miles of two-lane roads left. What hampered our previous efforts to get this done in 2011 was being unable to predict economic development growth in the counties along the route. That was pre oil and gas boom, which we’ve now seen phenomenal growth from. We think the time is right now to again move forward with our effort.”

The corridor is a 160-mile stretch of highways that starts at I-270/SR 161 on the northeast side of Columbus, follows SR 161/SR 16 through New Albany and Newark to Coshocton, continues on US 36 from Coshocton to Dennison, continues along US 250 to US 22 at Cadiz, and continues along US 22 to Pittsburgh. Only 30 percent of the corridor is left to complete and that includes improvements on 3.6 miles in Muskingum County, 7.6 miles in Coshocton County, 15.3 miles in Tuscarawas County, and 20.6 miles in Harrison County.

Looman said the association is starting by seeking the support of county commissioners, city and village councils and will work its way up to the state and federal level.

“This isn’t just an economic opportunity either,” he said. “It’s also about improving safety. The 250 area near Tappan Lake is not safe. The Ohio Highway Patrol reported that from 2015 to 2017 there were 70 crashes in that 10 mile stretch.”

Nicholas Homrighausen, executive director of community and economic development for Harrison County and co-chair of the association also spoke.

“We aren’t asking for anything new with the road,” he said. “We are just asking to finish what was started. We are actively seeking grants too for the project to help minimize as much as possible what is needed from the federal government.”

A 2011 Ohio Department of Transportation study suggested that only 55 jobs would be created if the corridor were completed, but Jeannette Wierzbicki from OMEGA said around 9,500 have since been created because of the energy boom in the region.

“Good quality infrastructure helps drive economic growth and development,” she said.

Tiffany Swigert, Coshocton Port Authority Executive Director, said Coshocton was prepared to help tackle this problem.

“There is a real need for this not just in Coshocton, but for the entire region,” she said.

The next step for the association is actively pursuing a feasibility study to show the economic impact of completing this project.

“We are keeping our eye on the prize and that is moving this project forward,” Homrighausen said.

Category: Government

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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