Now that phase 3 of the Gender Road improvement project is finished and the roundabout at the intersection of Gender and Lithopolis roads is open, city officials are gearing up for phase 4, meant to ease congestion at the intersection of Gender and Groveport roads.
Canal Winchester City Council voted unanimously Aug. 18 to apply to the Ohio Public Works Commission for a new grant that would be used on a project to increase traffic capacity through the intersection, streamlining it with more dedicated turn and through lanes.
City Engineer Adam Voris, of EMH&T, said the nearly $1.6-million project should reduce intersection wait times and congestion through the year 2034, based on traffic studies and projections the city has completed.
"A couple of features of the project will include extending the bicycle path west from the intersection by several hundred feet," Voris said. "We will reduce the wait time with two dedicated turn lanes on northbound Gender Road, along with additional right-turn lanes and two dedicated through lanes."
Eventually, the bicycle path could connect to the new Walnut Woods Metro Park and then to Groveport's trail system, he said.
Public Works Director Matt Peoples said there is still a lot of engineering to be completed, but the first step is to secure funding.
Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon questioned whether Canal Winchester would need to purchase more rights of way for widening the intersection.
The city recently purchased property at the northwest corner of the intersection for about $90,000 and already owns much of the land at the northeast corner of the intersection.
"We're going to do everything for the widening on the north side of the road to use that already owned right of way instead of expanding south and acquiring right of way there," Voris said.
"It just makes sense financially to shift everything in that direction."
Mershon said several residents had expressed concerns to her about shifting the construction south. She said she appreciated that the engineer is taking steps to allay those fears.
The OPWC application is due by Sept. 15, according to Peoples, and city officials hope to have a decision from the OPWC before the end of the year. If the grant is approved, the project might begin sometime in 2015.
As for the new roundabout, Peoples said it opened for first day of school "and it was flawless -- there were no backups whatsoever."