New Albany officials are negotiating with seven property owners near Johnstown and Central College roads to acquire construction easements, in an effort to make the intersection safer.

New Albany officials are negotiating with seven property owners near Johnstown and Central College roads to acquire construction easements, in an effort to make the intersection safer.

Village council members on May 19 heard seven resolutions, which village law director Mitch Banchefsky called statutory notifications.

Each of the seven resolutions was passed, giving officials the go-ahead to proceed with negotiations and draft ordinances to appropriate the properties during upcoming council meetings.

New Albany spokesman Scott McAfee said more than 40 accidents have occurred at the intersection in the past four years. He said about 68 percent of the project cost, which is estimated at $2.1-million, would be paid through a 20-year, no-interest loan, about 22 percent would be paid with a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission and the village would fund the remainder.

Banchefsky said village officials hope negotiations are successful so proceedings don't enter the realm of eminent domain.

"Eminent domain is basically the last resort when something has to get done," he said. "Hopefully, we can agree on price and we don't have to go any further."

Village engineer Ed Ferris said a lot of planning went into the decision to fix the intersection. He said a roundabout was considered, but because of the high cost and the amount of property needed for installation, officials instead decided to install turn lanes and widen the road.

A leisure trail also could be part of the plans, Ferris said.

The village plans to have that section of road closed between Sept. 15 and Nov. 25 and reroute traffic to Walnut Street and Bevelhymer Road.

Mayor Nancy Ferguson said residents have been asking for improvements for years.

"Since the (New Albany) Links was developed, we've had a huge amount of traffic that tries to get in that intersection every day," she said. "I know that many residents every year contact us and say please signalize that. I know we have been thinking about it in earnest since 2003."

Herbert Kellett, who lives near the Johnstown Road intersection with Central College Road, spoke during last week's meetings about his concerns over construction near his home.

According to council's resolution, about 1.3 acres of his property would be used for a temporary construction easement to complete the project later this year.

"Use some common sense instead of using money to study everything," Kellett said. "You've done four or five studies on this intersection."

Kellett expressed concern about being annexed from Plain Township, but Banchefsky said boundaries wouldn't change during construction.

The village is taking the lead on the intersection improvements, Banchefsky said.

Larry Meade, whose mother, Alma Meade, lives at 10342 Johnstown Rd., said he is concerned that construction would cause more drainage problems on the Meade property.

Council's resolutions would allow village officials to pursue a channel easement, two slope easements and a temporary construction easement on the Meade property.

"The problem we are having right now is, when the water comes across the road, the water does not flow properly," Larry Meade said. "It's hard to maintain keeping the property. Now we understand you are putting more water on the property. That's not fair to us."

Meade also expressed concerns over the temporary construction easement because construction equipment would be in front of his mother's house, which sits close to the road.

"She is going to have problems with construction in front of her house at all times," he said. "We do not want that temporary easement down on there. It will bother her completely."

Ferris said construction equipment would not be parked in front of the house. The easement would allow workers to access the property to work on the slope and water flow, though.

Ferguson asked Ferris and other village officials to look into improving the water flow near the Meade property. She said she hopes construction will improve safety in the village.

"Because of the increase in population and the increase in the number of people coming down Johnstown Road, it's become increasingly dangerous," she said.