Myers Schmalenberger Inc., Landscape Architecture, Planning  and Urban Design

I-670 Enhancement Plan

As part of the $225 million Spring-Sandusky Interchange (SSI) highway project in downtown Columbus, Ohio, historic preservation requirements mandated that the impact of the I-670 reconstruction plan on the neighboring historic districts be mitigated. The City of Columbus hired MSI to work with the SSI Design Task Force, composed of representatives from neighborhood groups, the Federal Highway Administration, the Ohio Department of Transportation,  and the Federal and Ohio Historic Preservation offices. Our role was to create an aesthetic design enhancement study that was agreeable to all parties of the Design Task Force. The goal was to integrate aesthetic improvements into the I-670 corridor design to prevent the highway from infringing on the neighborhoods' historic integrity and maintain the high quality urban pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods. Our consulting team presented a number of recommended treatments and the Design Task Force prioritized these elements.
The Design Enhancement Plan recommends a number of improvements including:
Redesigning the typical highway bridge into a single span structure enhanced with traditional bridge elements and a strong pedestrian route;
Adding textured design treatment and decorative fencing to the retaining walls;
Substituting retaining walls for earth grading to preserve the integrity of the urban grid;
Redesigning the bridge decks to support buildings and maintain the streetscape;
Enhancing the edges of adjacent neighborhoods along I-670;
Improving the streetscape to encourage pedestrian activity between districts;
Upgrading to decorative light fixtures;
Replacing chain link fencing with wrought iron fencing; and
Generally enhancing the character of the bridges and the corridor to reflect a more unified and aesthetically pleasing appearance.
The proposed highway design improvements are compatible and positively transition with the character of Victorian Village, Italian Village, the North Market District, the Short North area, and the new Nationwide Arena District. The completed project should promote and enhance the urban experience while maintaining the integrity of the historic districts along the downtown section of the I-670 corridor. The significance of this project is that area neighborhood, city, state, and federal groups worked together to improve the design and appearance of this significant highway in Columbus for the benefit of the entire community.

Link to a PDF file of the full Enhancement Plan

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