Some residents are questioning whether a roundabout is the right fix for the intersection of Linworth and Olentangy River roads.

Some residents are questioning whether a roundabout is the right fix for the intersection of Linworth and Olentangy River roads.

The Franklin County Engineer's Office has recommended installing a roundabout at the intersection, where several rear-end collisions have been recorded in recent years. It was the preferred choice over realigning the intersection and installing a stop sign or traffic lights.

But Kim Nixon-Bell and Scott Whitlock, both of whom live on Olentangy River Road in Worthington, wonder whether county engineers are proposing a $2-million solution to a problem that doesn't exist. They maintain they're not opposed to the roundabout.

"At this point, we're fact-finding," Nixon-Bell said.

To support the road improvement project, the engineer's office used accident data from 2003-05, when a total of 29 accidents were reported. The problem, engineers said, is the yield sign at southbound Linworth, where most of the collisions take place. The highest number of accidents was 14, reported in 2005.

But Nixon-Bell and Whitlock said that engineers don't take into account accidents reported in following years: five in '06, six each in '07 and '08 and none in '09 as of last week.

"And there is an even bigger change in the number of personal-injury accidents in the last three years," Whitlock said.

They're down to just four from 2006-08, compared to 13 from 2003-05.

Whitlock said additional data are forthcoming.

County Engineer Dean Ringle said he met with Nixon-Bell and Whitlock to go over their findings.

Ringle said the reason the accident numbers go through 2005 is because officials applied for safety funds through the Ohio Department of Transportation the following year.

As for the number of accidents, Nixon-Bell and Whitlock looked only at the Sharon Township accident reports. Ringle said he also wants to check to see if additional accidents were taken by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

"We're not disputing their numbers, but we want to verify whether they went down," he said.

There is time to explore other fixes at the intersection besides the roundabout, Ringle said.

"Although it's the leading option, we are still looking for other solutions," he said. "And some of those are just modifications that can be done to the existing intersection or variations on the roundabout."

Neighborhood groups have been silent on the matter so far. The work is occurring in Sharon Township, but the board of trustees hasn't officially endorsed the measure.

John Oberle, chairman of the trustees, said the board has been weighing the data and is expected to hold a public meeting in March.

"We view this as a priority," Oberle said. "We want to get educated."

The Northwest Civic Association hasn't made a recommendation on the issue yet, but will work with the county to set additional public meetings, said Jennifer Adair, president of the NWCA.

"A lot of people just don't see the need for it," she said of the roundabout.