Nearly 100 people attended a public hearing June 17 to learn about plans to widen Hamilton Road from Clark State Road to U.S. Route 62.

Nearly 100 people attended a public hearing June 17 to learn about plans to widen Hamilton Road from Clark State Road to U.S. Route 62.

The city of Gahanna and the Franklin County Engineer's Office hosted the meeting, which was held so Gahanna residents could view two options and see the results of the planning process thus far.

After studies and various meetings, city and county officials have determined the road will have two travel lanes in each direction, regardless of which option is chosen.

Roundabouts will be installed at Clark State Road and in front of the northeast school.

Cornell Robertson, highway-design engineer with the Franklin County Engineer's Office, said the county is considering two options, both with a roundabout at the northeast school and Clark State. The first option has two northbound lanes, two southbound lanes and a middle turn lane to allow motorists to make a left turn from Hamilton Road. The second option would include constructing a curbed continuous median between the roundabouts, prohibiting all left turns in and out of driveways and side streets between them. Motorists would use the roundabouts to make U-turns instead of making left turns between the roundabouts.

Stated advantages of the median include a minimized waterline conflict minimized, improved drive grades, eliminated left-turn problems, better residential character and less impervious surface area. Stated disadvantages are increased travel distance for left turns and indirect emergency-vehicle access.

Construction is expected to begin in 2012, with right-of-way acquisition starting in 2010.

"We definitely want to get input from folks," Robertson said. "This is a joint decision by Gahanna and Franklin County."

Gahanna service director Terry Emery said both options are good. The option with the median is a safer option because of fewer left turns. The option with the middle lane would be more convenient for residents, he said.

Residents have adjusted well to the roundabout at Morse Road and U.S. Route 62, Emery said.

"People are using it every day," he said. "We've gotten very favorable comments. Initially, there was some hesitation because people were unsure how to navigate the roundabout.

Hamilton Road is being widened because four lanes on both ends funnel into two lanes in the middle. Widening the road would relieve some traffic congestion, officials have said.

Gahanna resident Bob Oros attended the public hearing to get a little more information.

"I prefer the median," he said, adding that a median would help maintain the agricultural nature of Hamilton Road.

Oros said the median might be a hassle for residents who live in the area.

Sharon Goldberg said she wasn't affected directly by the project. She said she liked the planned improvements to add sidewalks and bike paths to Hamilton Road.

"I like the notion of the walkways activity trail," she said. "It is a tough decision. The median looks better."

Residents have until July 11 to comment on the project.

Call the service department at 342-4005 to obtain a copy of the comment form.