County, Ohio State Marion make progress on campus road

News Release Date: 
02.24.12

Extension will connect Ohio 95 to 529
Feb. 24, 2012

Written by Kurt Moore, The Marion Star

MARION - The southern extension of University Drive to Ohio 529 is one step closer.

Marion County Commissioners signed an agreement Thursday with The Ohio State University at Marion concerning construction of a two-way road from Ohio 95 to Ohio 529. It would be south of the current University Drive that connects Ohio 309 to Ohio 95 and would intersect Ohio 529 near the junction of Ohio 529, Marion-Edison Road and Richland Road.

Marion County Engineer Brad Irons said he remembers having discussions on this project shortly after he became county engineer in 2001.

"This is a document that's been a long time coming," he said Thursday about the signed memorandum of understanding. "We are finally there."

The road, when completed, will be maintained by the county. Its predecessor, the part of University Drive between Ohio 309 and Ohio 95, has become one of the county's busiest roads after opening in 2010.

The southern extension, along with alleviating traffic concerns, will provide another entrance to the Marion Campus. County planning officials had expressed concern in the past that there was only one main entrance to the campus, which could affect the ability of emergency responders to reach the campus if there was a crash in front of the entrance that tied up traffic.

"This will be good for the university," said David Claborn, director of development and community relations for Ohio State Marion. "It will be good for safety. It will be good for the community."

Ohio State Marion Dean Gregory Rose agreed with the importance of having a second entrance to the campus. He said all parties are committed to making sure the road is safe and does not affect the campus aesthetics.

Rose said it will be to the west of the Larry Yoder Prairie Nature Center and will not affect it.

County officials said there is not yet a cost estimate or timeline about when work will start and be completed.

"This is the first step," Irons said.

Meetings with the Ohio Department of Transprtation will follow about University Drive and about work ODOT plans to improve Ohio 529.

Irons said the county now can seek grants and other funding needed to complete the road.

Reporter Kurt Moore: 740-375-5151 or kdmoore@marionstar.com