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I-70/I-71 Columbus Crossroads

Mound Street Connector

Long Street Bridge


Running through a central business district of Ohio's largest city, I-70/I-71 needed a long-term and comprehensive solution for the high-traffic and high-crash area.

Services Involved

  • Assessment of Feasible Alternatives
  • Conceptual Alternative Study
  • Conceptual Engineering
  • Costs for Alternatives
  • Design/Build
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Evaluation of Transportation Model Results
  • Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)
  • Highway Engineering
  • Maintenance of Traffic
  • Phasing Strategies
  • Preferred Alternative Verification Study
  • Public Participation and Public Involvement Plan
  • Right-of-Way
  • Section 4(f) Evaluation
  • Survey


2016 Best Urban Project: Mound Street Connector

ODOT/ACEC Ohio Partnering Award

Outstanding Major New Bridge: Mound Street Connector

Ohio Chapters of the Association for Bridge Construction and Design (ABCD)

2014 Engineering Projects

Columbus Business First

2013 National Recognition Award

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) National

2012 Outstanding Achievement Award

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Ohio

2012 Grand Award

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Ohio

I-70/I-71 Columbus Crossroads

The overlap of two interstates, I-70 and I-71, runs through the central business district of Ohio’s largest city and is identified as one of the state’s highest crash locations. The two-mile stretch where I-70 and I-71 combine and then separate is also characterized by congestion for many hours of the day. The volume of traffic, combined with numerous freeway ramps, contributes to these operational characteristics.


To develop short- and long-term solutions for this persistent problem, the Ohio Department of Transportation retained ms consultants as the lead consultant on the I-70/I-71 South Innerbelt Study. The project team included 12 subconsultants selected by ms for unique contributions of services.


The study area for the planning and conceptual design includes three major freeway interchanges and 34 ramps to local arterial streets. ms assumed the key role in the development and analysis of conceptual engineering and costs for alternatives, evaluation of transportation model results, development of maintenance of traffic and phasing strategies, and the identification and documentation of environmental, socioeconomic, and physical sensitivities in the project area. ms was responsible for public participation, selection of a final alternative and a final environmental Finding of No Significant Impact. The project team developed a comprehensive and intensive public involvement plan intended to build broad-based public support of the study and its findings by engaging the public in all steps of the process. As lead consultant, ms served as the primary presenter of material at more than 300 stakeholder, community and public meetings scheduled throughout the project.


A Conceptual Alternative Study was prepared to document the evaluation of six alternatives based on established performance measures. Two feasible alternatives were carried forward for further evaluation, based on this study. An Assessment of Feasible Alternatives was prepared to document a more detailed evaluation, supporting the recommendation of a preferred alternative. A Preferred Alternative Verification Study was prepared to further develop the plans more than 150 lane miles of new pavement, 113 new bridges and more than 1.3 million square feet of retaining walls.


An environmental assessment was prepared to document potential environmental impacts to ecological resources, five historic districts, listed and eligible historic buildings, park and recreational lands, air quality, traffic noise, construction noise and vibration, community impacts, environmental justice, hazardous materials, and secondary and cumulative effects. A Section 4(f) Evaluation was prepared to document potential impacts to historic properties and districts, parks and recreational lands. ms assisted ODOT in preparing the necessary concurrence letters to document commitments for the Columbus Dodge Park and the Franklin County Scioto Audubon MetroPark.


The planning for the project included the development of an aesthetic enhancements plan that considered streetscaping elements along new and improved city streets, structural elements along the freeway and public plaza caps over the freeway. A series of community and stakeholder meetings were held to develop this plan with community input. Project costs for these elements were developed and possible funding sources were identified. A Design Enhancement Manual was prepared for use in the future design of the project, to ensure continuity through all of the project phases.


The new urban avenues created by the project were designated by ODOT as a “Complete Street Pilot Project.” Complete streets are designed to provide safe access to all users – pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and vehicles. A series of workshop meetings were held with stakeholder groups and city representatives to develop a plan for these avenues that included bike lanes, sidewalks, on-street parking, tree lawns and streetscaping.

Parsons Avenue Widening and Reconstruction

ms consultants provided services for the planning, preliminary design and construction plan development  for the widening and reconstruction of Parsons Avenue from Mooberry Street to Town Street. Parsons Avenue, along with other streets along the interstate corridor, was designated by ODOT as a “Complete Street Pilot Project.” A preliminary plan was developed that considered the city’s previously prepared bikeways plan and included future bike routes. A series of workshop meetings was held with stakeholder groups and city representatives to develop a plan for Parsons Avenue that includes bike lanes, sidewalks, on-street parking, tree lawns and streetscaping. The project will also include replacement of street lights and traffic signal mast arms that will match Columbus’ downtown standard and blend with adjacent historic neighborhoods and buildings.


As part of the environmental assessment prepared for the I-70/I-71 project, the proposed street improvement plans will include provisions to replace the historic iron fencing across the frontage of the Columbus Health Center. ms is preparing plans for needed waterline replacements and relocation of an existing sewer siphon along Parsons Avenue. Meetings have been held with other utility owners to coordinate other necessary relocations. Right-of-way plans were prepared for additional right-of-way needed for the project. The plans were prepared on an accelerated schedule to advance right-of-way acquisition and subsequent project construction.





I-71/I-670 Interchange

As part of the phasing strategy for this $1.5 billion project, ms worked with ODOT to identify a portion of the project suitable for advancing as a design-build project, using a best value selection process that considered technical qualifications, project schedule and cost. This section, the I-71/I-670 Interchange, would be the largest design-build interchange project ever contracted by the state, with an estimated project cost of $200 million. Working with ODOT and the Federal Highway Administration, ms assisted with the preparation of the scope of services documents. ms also assisted ODOT in the evaluation of alternative technical concepts proposed by shortlisted design-build teams and reviewed proposal submissions for compliance with the technical specifications.


The phasing strategy for the remaining sections of the project was developed considering project costs, future available funding, maintenance of traffic during construction and independent utility.

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