Construction of a roundabout at Market and Main streets in New Albany is expected to begin May 26.
New Albany City Council agreed Jan. 7 to approve a plat for the roundabout at the intersection in anticipation of the New Albany Co. retail building opening this fall and the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany opening early in 2015.
City Councilman Glyde Marsh was the only member to vote against the roundabout. He has been an opponent of roundabouts for several years because he says they create accidents. He lives just north of a roundabout at Morse and Reynoldsburg-New Albany roads.
A traffic study completed by the city recommended a roundabout. The alternate choice was to add two to three lanes at the intersection.
City officials structured the roundabout at Market and Main -- also known as Johnstown Road and U.S. Route 62 -- to accommodate pedestrians.
In January, deputy community-development director Adrienne Joly said city officials consulted with Mark Johnson of MTJ Engineering of Madison, Wis., and learned that the roundabout could be considered safe if it were designed correctly.
Joly said lanes must be kept narrow -- not more than about 12 feet wide -- to keep traffic from moving faster than 15 miles per hour through the intersection.
The design also includes medians on the north and south sides of the intersection, which will allow pedestrians to cross one lane of traffic before stopping, and then cross the second lane to reach the other side of Main Street.
Secondary pedestrian crossings farther north and south of the roundabout are also in the plan. Those could include crossing signals, if necessary, city officials have said.
City spokesman Scott McAfee said the construction is expected to be completed in August.
He said the opening would not affect the May 17 Founders Day celebration, which includes a parade that typically travels on Market and Main streets.
However, McAfee said, the Fourth of July parade, which will be held on Friday, July 4, will have to use another route.
During construction, the suggested detour for people heading north will be to take Morse Road to Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road to Dublin-Granville Road. The detour would be the reverse for travelers heading south.
McAfee said the roundabout is estimated to cost $4 million. It is being funded by the New Albany Co., which will be reimbursed through the Village Center tax-increment financing district.
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.
McAfee said the Village Center TIF includes the retail building the New Albany Co. is constructing at the northwest corner of Market and Main streets and one of the company's residential developments, Straits Farm, which includes 51 empty-nester homes being built east of the intersection on Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road, south of Maplewood Cemetery.
McAfee said New Albany City Council is expected to review the agreement between the city and the New Albany Co. for the roundabout construction at a regular meeting in May.