City will seek state funds for work on Beech Road
New Albany City Council is applying for funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) to improve Beech Road north of state Route 161, from Innovation Campus Court to Jug Street.
New Albany City Manager Joseph Stefanov said the project is estimated to cost $1.1 million. The city would be responsible for improvements to both sides of Beech Road, even though the west side is in Jersey Township in Licking County.
"We have a maintenance agreement with the township so we maintain both sides of the road adjacent to the business park," Stefanov said.
The project includes adding a left turn lane for traffic heading south on Beech Road and turning on Innovation Campus Court and for traffic heading north at the northern entrance to the Smith's Mill Road loop.
Lanes will be widened from 10 feet to 12 feet in the project area to provide better safety with truck and pedestrian traffic. Stefanov said a wider lane could prevent trucks from driving on the road's shoulder.
City Council voted Sept. 4 to apply for the OPWC funds, which typically include grants and zero-percent loans.
Councilman Glyde Marsh asked if road improvements were needed.
"We usually try to get ahead of infrastructure needs and this is consistent with that," Stefanov said.
Stefanov said Jersey Township trustees might apply for grants to continue the project north of Jug Street to Johnstown Road.
City Council declined to apply for OPWC funding to install a roundabout at Johnstown, Greensward and Lambton Park roads to alleviate traffic backups. Stefanov said the project would cost an estimated $1.1 million.
Marsh, who frequently opposes roundabouts, said he prefers traffic signals.
Councilwoman Colleen Briscoe said a roundabout at that intersection may not be pedestrian friendly.
Stefanov said a traffic signal would cost an estimated $250,000. He said he will include the project in the 2013 capital improvements budget, which council is expected to review in November.
Councilman Chip Fellows asked Stefanov to also consider stopped traffic on Dublin-Granville Road at the entrance to the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.
Fellows said traffic backs up when parents use the road to access the New Albany 2-5 elementary school building before and after school.
Councilman Sloan Spaulding said the district would consider changing the traffic pattern if the district's combined ballot issue, Issue 50, is approved by voters in November. The ballot issue includes a 2.59-mill bond issue to generate $45,120,442 and a 4.24-mill, continuous operating levy to generate $3,510,767. The bond issue will include funding for site improvements, including the drop-off zone at the elementary building.