New Albany News

City to connect Zarley Street to Forest Drive

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New Albany officials plan to connect Zarley Street to Forest Drive later this year to further alleviate traffic issues at Zarley Street and Johnstown Road.

"Any time you have an alternate (exit) route ... that leads to a traffic light or a controlled intersection, it is a good thing," said New Albany's interim police chief, Greg Jones.

In 2010, the city limited left turns from Zarley Street onto Johnstown Road between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m., said Mark Nemec, the city's public-services director

Nemec updated New Albany City Council on the road extension project June 18.

He said the Zarley Street intersection with Johnstown Road was one of the city's top three crash locations in 2010.

Five accidents occurred at the intersection in 2010, two in 2011 and three in 2013, according to police records.

Nemec said the new connection will improve the flow of traffic from the Zarley Industrial Park to the adjacent medical and office development on Forest Drive.

Forest Drive connects to Smith's Mill Road.

The city will build a two-lane road with curbs, with a walking trail on one side and a sidewalk on the other. It will include street trees and lighting, Nemec said.

The city will use funds from the capital-improvements budget for the connection.

Though Nemec has not received an engineer's estimate for the work, he said, the road could cost $900,000.

Nemec said once the road is built, the turning restrictions at Zarley Street and Johnstown Road will remain in place.

In other business June 18:

* Council heard an update on another capital-improvements project that would provide a pedestrian crossing over the Thompson Road bridge near Thompson Park.

Nemec said the city of Columbus maintains 70 percent of the bridge and New Albany maintains the other 30 percent.

New Albany is in the process of taking over maintenance of the bridge and right of way so the city can install a pedestrian bridge, which is expected to cost $260,000 and will be funded out of tax-increment financing revenues.

A TIF is an economic development mechanism available to local governments to finance public infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation, according to the Ohio Department of Development. A TIF works by locking in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation was approved.

* Council agreed to refund $4.82 million in debt issued in 2010 to save $500,000 by lowering the interest rate and reducing the payoff by three years.

The bonds were issued to build a truck cul-de-sac, finish Smith's Mill Loop Road, and make water and sewer improvements to the city's Personal Care and Beauty business campus, north and south of state Route 161 along Beech Road.

Chad Fuller, New Albany's finance director, said the interest rate is expected to decrease to 2 to 3 percent with the refunding.

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