Plans to widen East William Street and add a turn lane are moving forward, Delaware officials have announced.

Plans to widen East William Street and add a turn lane are moving forward, Delaware officials have announced.

City Engineer Bill Ferrigno reviewed a timeline for the work, projected for completion by 2015, at a Jan. 14 meeting of Delaware City Council.

Large trucks often use East William Street to access U.S. Route 36 and state Route 37, which connect vehicles to Interstate 71 and U.S. routes 42 and 23.

But because the road lacks turn lanes, cars frequently back up.

"If you sit out there and watch, that's the No. 1 cause of congestion," Ferrigno said. "Folks want to turn on any number of those side streets.

"It's not necessarily rush hour, it's just the fact that we don't have turn lanes down through there."

The roughly $3-million project, funded by a federal grant, will widen the road from Lake Street to the Point intersection by about eight feet, allowing for the installation of a 12-foot turn lane that can accommodate large trucks.

Ferrigno said it's similar to a project that added a turn lane on state Route 37 from Buehler Drive to Northwood Drive west of downtown Delaware.

"That's made a huge difference on the west side," he said.

He said the William Street project will make a big difference with minimal impact to nearby residents and businesses.

A new timeline for the project indicates funding will be confirmed by March, with preliminary engineering and an environmental impact study completed by the end of the year.

The final design will be finished by March 2014; the city will work to obtain rights of way from landowners along the corridor by November 2014.

If all goes according to plan, construction would begin in 2015 and be completed by the third quarter of that year.

Trees and lighting might be added after that with left-over funds.

Officials said they'll meet with area residents and business owners numerous times throughout the course of the project

"It's really a conversation that's just starting, and it will involve many stakeholders going forward," said city spokesman Lee Yoakum.

About $3.5 million in federal funding being appropriated for the project originally was set aside for the construction of a William Street bypass, but that was deemed not financially feasible.

Ferrigno said a turn lane on William Street is "not going to solve the big-picture issue -- in other words, handle the 16,000 vehicles per day that our traffic studies show could be managed by the bypass. But we can utilize that money to go ahead and do the best we can."