A solution to traffic backups on Interstate 270 west to Sawmill Road northbound could come as soon as next year.
The Ohio Department of Transportation's local District 6 office last week took public comments about a proposed additional northbound lane on Sawmill Road between Billingsley and Hard Road.
"The additional lane will allow for smoother flow and reduce the congestion as people head north," said Nancy Burton, District 6 communications manager.
"We're adding a northbound lane, but not taking away movement."
Traffic heading west on I-270 often builds up during rush hour as vehicles try to exit and go north on Sawmill Road.
Traffic on I-270 west has stacked up as far as a mile, information from ODOT said.
"Shorter backups also occur on Interstate 270 east due to the congestion on northbound Sawmill Road," stated an informational handout distributed at the Oct. 29 public meeting.
"In the years 2009 through 2011, 302 crashes occurred on Interstate 270 as motorists approached the interchange, with 110 of the crashes resulting in injuries."
People exiting from I-270 east to Sawmill Road north have about 400 feet to merge onto two lanes of traffic on Sawmill Road.
ODOT officials said they hope widening Sawmill Road for another northbound lane from Billingsly Road to just south of Hard Road will make the interchange safer.
"It will just end," Burton said of the proposed additional lane.
"People will have to merge if they're going north."
In addition to the new northbound land, the project will include "drainage improvements, sidewalk, intersection improvements at Billingsly Road and Sawbury Boulevard/ Bright Road and signal upgrades to meet current design standards," information from ODOT said.
"The pavement will also be resurfaced from north of the bridge over Interstate 270 to Billingsly Road."
So far preliminary engineering design for the proposed lane has been completed.
ODOT expects to start land acquisition for the project in December and work on final design plans.
Until the final design is done, Burton said ODOT will not know how much the project will cost.
Parts of the project area lie in both Columbus and Dublin, but Burton said "it's too early at this point in the process," to say where funding will come from.
Construction could begin as soon as fall 2014. Burton had no estimate for how long construction would take, but information from ODOT said, "no roadway closures are anticipated and access to all businesses and residences will be maintained."