The path to a Route 30 highway could begin with a two-lane county road

A new two-lane county road would link Hanoverton and West Point.

LISBON — It would cost an estimated $100 million to build a two-lane county road linking West Point and Hanoverton.

So says MS Consultants, the firm hired by the Columbiana County Transportation Improvement District to take a preliminary look at what it would take to build such a road as part of the larger effort by the TID committee to turn U.S. Route 30 into a freeway through the county and to East Canton, where it becomes a four-lane highway through the rest of Ohio.

Two years ago, county Engineer Bert Dawson came up with the idea that instead of focusing on the entire 35 miles from state Route 11 to East Canton that the new road be built in segments, which would make it more feasible by lowering the cost. He also suggested the first segment be from near state Route 11 in West Point to state Route 9 in Hanoverton, and it be a county road because that might increase the chances of attracting federal and state funding.

County commissioners then provided $25,000 for TID to hire MS to perform a preliminary review, the results of which were released at last week’s committee meeting. The biggest news to come from the review was the $100 million price tag, which would seem at first glance a bargain given the estimated cost of turning all of Route 30 into a four-lane road is nearly a billion dollars.

Still, MS pointed out raising the necessary funds would be difficult and that state and federal dollars are essential. “But to obtain state and federal funds, a strong local base of revenue will need to be established,” the firm wrote. Later in the study, MS noted some counties have increased license plate fees as a source of local funding for road projects.

The other major news is MS found “no major environmental impacts” along the proposed path, “but there are areas that will need special consideration, avoidance or minimizing of impacts.”

The stretch of U.S 30 that could be bypassed by the new road — especially from Lisbon to Hanoverton — is considered the worst in term of terrain and curves. MS says a traffic study showed 2,000 vehicles per day “would benefit from a safer, efficient, direct connection between SR 9 and SR 11.”

Local officials believe completing U.S. 30 as a freeway through the county will open the area up to economic development, especially in terms of the oil and gas boom underway in the region.