Could SR 53 receive Turnpike funds for repairs? - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Could SR 53 receive Turnpike funds for repairs?

(Toledo News Now) -

The Turnpike Commission's revenue bonds will make $1 billion available to fund local road improvements in northern Ohio later this year. One local group is trying to secure some of that funding to improve State Route 53 from Upper Sandusky to Port Clinton.

The Transportation Coalition of North Central Ohio was formed last month to begin plans on improving SR 53. On Friday, coalition members spoke with officials from ODOT and the Turnpike Commission about the process of receiving funding for the improvements.

SR 53 has been in desperate need of improvements for years.

"There have been issues up from Fremont to Port Clinton, safety issues," said State Rep. Rex Damschroeder. "There's safety issues south of Tiffin. There are several areas where this is not a safe road."

Local leaders are finally seeing a chance to make those repairs. The first step is to apply for improvements through ODOT's Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC).

"They have the expert engineers that come in, and they will figure out what is possible, what we can do," Rep. Damschroeder said. "I think the need is there, I don't think there's any question about the need."

If the project becomes a Tier One TRAC project, it will then go before the Ohio Turnpike Commission for another round of reviews.

Turnpike leaders are also well aware of the importance of SR 53 to the area.

"Well 53 is a very important intersection for us," said Rick Hodges, executive director of the Turnpike Commission. "The definition of projects we can fund are: Do they have a nexus to the Turnpike? Clearly, there is."

Officials feel the need for a safer SR 53 will make a strong run for approval.

"There's a process to go through, but this is certainly a candidate," Hodges said.

The statewide improvement projects are expected to receive Turnpike Commission approval later this year.

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Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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