Construction will start in late spring or early summer on a three-phase project to improve a section of Winchester Pike connecting Madison Township and Canal Winchester.
Michael Meeks, traffic engineer with the Franklin County Engineer's Office, told Madison Township trustees Jan. 15 that the work will focus on the intersections of Shannon and Ebright roads at Winchester Pike and Bixby and Brice roads at Winchester Pike.
Funding for the project will come from a variety of sources, according to Franklin County Projects Engineer Ted Beidler.
"It will be about a $5 million project," he said.
Of that amount, $3 million will come from federal aid through the County Engineers Association of Ohio and the balance will come from an Ohio Public Works Commission grant.
Beidler said there will need to be some road closures while the work to reconfigure Brice and Bixby roads is completed, but these should not exceed 30 days.
One reason for the improvement work and resulting traffic pattern changes is the number of accidents that have occurred on Winchester Pike, according to officials. One in September of last year involved a semi-truck that crashed and caught fire, closing the road for several hours.
"The Pike has been a growing problem because it's a county road that's getting busier," Meeks said. "When U.S. Route 33 travels poorly, people bail off it and get on Winchester Pike. We have three projects there that will happen over the next few years."
Meeks said the timeline is still somewhat in flux because final design work hasn't been completed, but he anticipates that some widening of Winchester Pike at the Ebright and Shannon roads intersection will be completed this summer.
The current plan, as presented to the trustees, will include installing left-turn lanes and a traffic light on Winchester Pike at that intersection.
In early 2015, work will begin on realigning a small section of Bixby Road so that it meets Winchester Pike at the same point as Brice Road.
All four of those roads will be widened to accommodate turn lanes, and a traffic light will be added, Meeks said.
Finally, by 2016, the Franklin County Engineer's Office plans to return to the Ebright and Shannon roads intersection for additional widening of all four roads to accommodate more turn lanes and a better flow of traffic.
"The designs aren't done yet, but when they are, we'll have to work with the property owners," Meeks said. "This is an interim part of the project, and as those designs come together, we'll know by April where we stand."
Trustee Victor Paini thanked Meeks for sharing details of the plans and for moving up a traffic study so that work can begin sooner than originally anticipated.
"Some of these were scheduled as 2018 projects but now we're talking 2014, so I want to commend these folks at the Franklin County Engineer's Office for partnering with us and understanding that this is a serious situation," Paini said.