Dublin Villager

Traffic snarls during road projects to be discussed

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It might be difficult for motorists to travel throughout Dublin next year.

Improvements at the Interstate 270-U.S. Route 33 interchange are expected to coincide with road work at Riverside Drive and state Route 161, resulting in a perfect storm that could flood the city in orange barrels starting next spring.

Dublin City Council is expected to discuss the upcoming roadwork and how to get traffic around the potential closures Monday, Sept. 8.

Although plans for some of the projects are not yet complete, the I-270-U.S. 33 interchange project, improvements at the Hard and Sawmill Road intersection, the construction of a shared-use path on Dublin Road south, the realignment of Riverside Drive and the construction of a roundabout at the Riverside Drive and state Route 161 intersection are all expected to cause some road closures or traffic limitations next year.

"We're getting more and more questions from the public, Historic Dublin and others saying there is no information," said Terry Foegler, Dublin's director of strategic initiatives and special projects.

"There's always an issue with maintenance of traffic," Foegler said.

"It's always an issue in the final construction drawings."

Plans for a roundabout at the Riverside Drive and state Route 161 intersection are only about 40 percent complete, but initial information said work could start in the spring and last one entire construction season if the intersection is closed.

A northbound and southbound lane on the bypass could be maintained, a memo to council stated.

"There's enough known from basic information that traffic will be seriously constrained," Foegler said of the roundabout construction.

While design plans for the roundabout are still in the works, staff will look into allowing one lane of westbound and eastbound traffic to remain open, but "we do not currently believe there are any good alternatives that would provide for a more continuous level of traffic maintenance on (state Route) 161 through the roundabout construction area that would not lengthen the duration of construction," the staff memo said.

"Even in the best case scenario traffic will be greatly constrained," Foegler said.

Some residents are hoping solutions to keep some traffic flowing during construction can be found.

"The realignment of the (Interstate) 270 and 161/33 interchange is scheduled to start spring of 2015," said Brenda Kocak, president of the Historic Dublin Business Association.

"With that major construction project and Dublin proposing to construct a roundabout at 161 and Riverside Drive concurrently you can understand why the businesses caught in between are worried," Kocak said.

"A lengthy closure could be devastating to these small businesses," she said.

"The city of Dublin has been a strong partner to Historic Dublin and it is my hope that an amicable solution will be forthcoming."

Kocak plans to attend the Sept. 8 meeting to speak to council and urges business owners and residents to do the same.

Along with an update about plans for the state Route 161 and Riverside Drive roundabout, council will also hear about anticipated closures for the I-270-U.S. Route 33 interchange work that is expected to detour U.S. Route 33 east- and westbound traffic.

Construction is also expected to close and detour traffic from U.S. Route 33 westbound to southbound I-270 and I-270 southbound to U.S. Route 33 eastbound, the staff memo to council stated.

The project will include closing a portion of I-270 overnight for four weekends in June, July, August and September of 2015, the memo said.

Elsewhere in the city, the construction of a shared-use path on Dublin Road between Rings Road and Waterford Drive is expected to close the road to through traffic, but the project could be delayed if it coincides with the closure of the Riverside Drive and state Route 161 intersection, the memo said.

The construction at Sawmill and Hard Roads is not expected to close any roads, but the widening of Hard Road in Columbus could put traffic at a diminished capacity, the memo said.

While council will get an update on planned 2015 construction Sept. 8, more detailed plans and timelines are expected in October.

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