By Wayne Allen
September 27, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
According to Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman, the proposed Portsmouth Bypass could be another key part this area needs for potential development
When asked his opinion on the bypass Opperman said, “I have a hard time saying we should not allow or inhibit someone investing $400-600 million dollars in our community.”
Opperman said, how could we, as a community, let this opportunity pass us by where there are so many people looking for work.
“Many in our community have to drive to Columbus to work or a fair majority of them do, everyday. How could we let this pass us by when we could have them employed here,” Opperman said. “Even the workers that may get brought into this area, will help the local economy for a while. The way I look at this is that even if $100 million dollars of that money is spent locally, how long would it take for us to spend $100 million in our local economy. How many times is that money going to turnaround locally.”
Opperman said, one of the questions he is often asked is, will be bypass hurt Portsmouth?
“A large majority of the traffic, that can bypass Portsmouth is bypassing Portsmouth now. To some extent I do not know it could hurt it (Portsmouth) bad, it may even help, because there are some people trying to avoid Portsmouth because of traffic delays relating to the signals and some congestion,” Opperman said. “If the signals were more coordinated and better timed, people would want to drive through town more often.”
Opperman thinks more people would be more inclined to travel through Portsmouth once the bypass is built because they would not have to deal with semi-truck traffic.
“I do not think the bypass is going to dramatically effect Portsmouth, more than what traffic already going around Portsmouth is effecting it now,” Opperman said.
He said the purpose of the bypass project is to encourage development.
Opperman said a letter of support for the bypass was recently sent to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) signed by various community leaders.
“The letter of support included office holders and representatives of Lawrence County as well. Lawrence County also sees this as a development tool for them,” Opperman said.
Opperman said he was told going through Portsmouth has been a hindrance for development for the area.
“One of the economic development people told me Honda was looking to develop along the river at one time. They started driving down here and determined there was no connectivity, other than going through Portsmouth. So, they turned around and went back,” Opperman said. “If an opportunity like this presents itself to us like it has, I think we should welcome it with open arms. If we are working towards getting development in this area, this is a key part of it.”
Opperman said, this community already has many of the key pieces needed for development in river, rail and workforce access.
“What we are really missing is one connector, we don’t have a real good highway connection here. This is not the answer to all questions, but it is a major piece for getting us there,” Opperman said.
For more information about the bypass, visit www.portsmouthbypass.com or call 888-819-8501, ext. 774-8834.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.