State Route 315 through Delaware County is one of central Ohio's most scenic drives -- but this summer, lines of stopped traffic could dominate the scenery.
Portions of the route will be shut down for two major construction projects in the coming months.
The first closure is coming in mid- to late July, when construction is set to begin on a new $1.3 million roundabout at the intersection of Orange Road and Route315.
Route 315 will be closed for about seven days, though Orange and Carriage roads will be closed at the intersection for 45 to 60 days during construction.
Unlike a stop sign or traffic signal, the roundabout won't significantly slow down traffic traveling along Route 315 -- but it will make the intersection safer by virtually eliminating the chance for head-on collisions, said Rob Riley, project manager for the Delaware County engineer's office.
The long-delayed project originally was planned to coincide roughly with the replacement of the Orange Road Bridge, finished in 2009.
But concerns over the environmental impact of the project, located along the protected scenic Olentangy River, postponed construction of the single-lane roundabout.
Riley said construction is scheduled so it won't overlap with the start of a second, much-anticipated project set to begin later this summer. Workers will add turn lanes in all directions at the intersection at state Route 750 and Route 315, one of the region's most notorious bottlenecks, located about a mile south of the Orange Road intersection.
"We've been working closely with ODOT to make sure our closure of 315 won't conflict with ODOT's plan (to add turn lanes)," Riley said.
ODOT will start construction for that project in August or September.
Currently, cross-traffic makes it difficult for north- and southbound commuters to turn left onto Route 750, also called Powell Road, backing up traffic along Route 315 for a half-mile or more during rush hour.
The crossings at Route 315 and Route 750 won't be closed at the same time during the project.
At a meeting May 20, Liberty Township officials worried construction of the turn lanes would overlap the President's Cup golf tournament in Dublin, set Oct. 1-6.
Events such as that one typically funnel a high volume of traffic up and down Route 315, township Administrator Dave Anderson said.
"The traffic pattern on that will go right through Powell, right in the middle of the October construction period," Anderson said, adding: "The fallout will be interesting. You can only put so much traffic on Riverside Drive."
Another concern is that cars headed north on Route 315 toward Powell Road will be directed to turn west onto Jewett Road for a detour during construction.
Jim Cirigliano, the township's assistant fiscal officer and a member of the homeowners association for the adjacent Calumet Farms subdivision, said the township should consider installing a three-way stop at the intersection of Liberty and Jewett roads to make traffic manageable.
"There's concern from my board members about being able to get out of Calumet Farms," Cirigliano said. "A three-way stop is better than nothing."