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Medical Center Drive exit to close Sunday night as part of Cannon Drive construction

Cannon Drive construction has uprooted medical center staff and football fans from the Polo and Dodd parking lots. The project will close the medical center exit on state Route 315 Sunday through Saturday. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

The medical center exit on state Route 315 northbound will be closed Sunday through Saturday, as a part of the Cannon Drive Relocation Project.

For commuter students, university faculty and medical center employees, the exit ramp offers the closest entrance to campus when coming from state Route 315 South. With this closure, traffic delays are expected and drivers will be directed to the closest exits to the south and north of Medical Center Drive.

The Goodale Avenue exit or the Lane Avenue exit are the closest alternatives, about 2 miles south and 1 mile north of the Medical Center Drive exit, respectively.

“The purpose of the Medical Center Drive exit closure is to allow for the installation of a city sanitary sewer line,” said Dan Hedman, an Ohio State spokesman. The installation is part of a bigger reconstruction focusing on Cannon Drive as a whole.

The project, which began Sept. 5, is set to straighten and elevate Cannon Drive to prevent future flooding for the road, as well as create a north-to-south connection between King and Lane avenues.

Phase One of construction closed two major parking lots on campus, which were specifically used by medical center employees. The Polo and Dodd lots were demolished, resulting in the loss of 2,100 parking spaces.  

Employees were uprooted from the lots across the street from medical center buildings to West Campus lots, previously used predominantly by commuter students.

This move, in turn, dispersed the students to the Buckeye Lot further from campus, causing tension not just for medical center employees but also students.    

Lot closures have been met with traffic delays throughout the past few months.

Paige Wright, a fourth-year in civil engineering, previously relied on Cannon Drive to access South Campus, but now she avoids the area altogether.

“In general, I avoid that area because it is such a mess with the new construction,” she said. “Now I doubt that I will ever go that way to South Campus.”

The timing behind the dates of the closure of the Medical Center Drive exit are to minimize the inconvenience for students and staff.

Hedman said the exit closure was planned specifically to keep the project in motion.

“The closure is closer to holiday break, which has historically shown lesser traffic volume. Motorists should still plan ahead and expect delays during heavy travel times,” he said.

Medical Center Drive exit is expected to reopen Saturday, but dates of the closure are weather-dependent and subject to change.

The total Cannon Drive construction — estimated to cost $18.3 million — is projected to last three years, with Phase Two beginning July 2019, and as of now is designed to bring 12 acres of developable land to campus near the Olentangy River Corridor.

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