The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has pulled back from continuing to pursue the next phase of the Eastern Corridor Project: Relocating SR 32.:
They are going to continue to follow the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process, which should document and make the decision a fact. Sierra Club will be monitoring the progress. ODOT has indicated they will be looking at options to “improve” SR 32 in Newtown, and have included the possibility of other bridges and road widening as possibilities. So, while this is a great step forward, we need to be sure that other environmental damage doesn’t occur.
While the Red Bank Road section around Madisonville wasn’t covered in this decision, we still have concerns about the impact of more and more car and truck emissions in closer proximity to the Parker School. In Nevada, their DOT was forced to install equipment to filter the air and prevent the high air toxics levels that are found along Interstates. This, of course, doesn’t help students playing outside or living near the proposed expanded highway.
We are also interested in ideas people have about improving the public participation process. Millions of dollars were spent over decades trying to build this highway and river crossing, as opposition mounted and it became clear, even to ODOT, that “things had changed”.
Please feel free to comment on the following questions:
- How can the public be more effectively involved in the selection of projects and their priority?
- How do we develop holistic transportation solutions instead of old ideas like “build a road and development will happen”?
- What other “lessons” can we take from this ordeal?
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