The state Route 161 widening project could be back on schedule, local officials say.

The state Route 161 widening project could be back on schedule, local officials say.

In fact, motorists are expected to be rerouted onto a portion of the new road within a month.

"We've had some weather delays last fall and this past spring, but we've made a pretty good recovery in the last two months," said Dave Johnson, senior project engineer for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

The entire project -- to widen Route 161 to four lanes from New Albany to Granville -- is expected to cost $150-million. The project was expected to be completed in September 2009 but has been pushed back to May 2010, according to ODOT's Web site. Johnson said crews should be able to meet the revised May 2010 deadline.

"There's been no rain for a while so we probably will be able to meet the scheduled completion date," he said Thursday.

York Road still is closed at state Route 37, but Johnson said that intersection might reopen at the end of October.

Outville Road, which was closed at the end of July, is slated to open near Thanksgiving, but Johnson said he is not as optimistic about that opening.

"We're going to try to get that open by Thanksgiving, but that's hoping for good weather," he said.

Crews were finishing paving between Granville and Chinney Creek last week so that traffic could be rerouted onto what will become the westbound lanes of Route 161 out of Granville.

Johnson said after traffic is rerouted to the new pavement -- sometime within a month -- crews will begin building the new bridge on the existing Route 161, near the Raccoon International Golf Club. The westbound lanes will cross a bridge that is higher than the existing bridge. Johnson said the existing bridge will be built taller, though, and will be in line with the new bridge that was built there.

"We've got to take out the existing bridge and increase its height. After we switch traffic, we can do that," he said.

The project will continue to require crews to work at night, he said. Most of the paving and dirt fill have been done between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.

ODOT's Web site states this is one of only two "remaining unimproved segments of the state Route 161/37/16/U.S. 36 macro-corridor," which are "vital to Ohio's economy and quality of life because they link major population and employment centers."

The road currently carries 24,000 vehicles daily -- 2,000 more than it was designed for, the Web site states.