Olentangy Valley News

Powell Road turn lanes planned at 315

Left-turn lanes will come to Powell Road at state Route 315 in 2013 as part of a larger plan to keep two sections of 315 from crumbling into the Olentangy River.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has decided to use soil bioengineering techniques to preserve the riverbank along Route 315.

The areas of concern are just north of Jewett Road and about a half mile north of Powell Road. Erosion on the west bank of the river is putting stress on the road in that area, ODOT has said.

A total of about 2,000 feet of bank in those areas needs to be stabilized, ODOT documents said.

Falling trees and cracking pavement along Route 315 are signs of riverbank erosion that ODOT has been monitoring for seven years.

To stabilize the river bank and prevent erosion, ODOT will use a combination of retaining walls, reinforced soil sloping and native vegetation.

The plan includes installing Powell Road left-turn lanes for both eastbound and westbound traffic.

The project also includes decreasing the slope of Powell Road west of the intersection.

The total project is estimated to cost $6.85-million. It is planned to take one construction season, in 2013.

In December 2008, ODOT held an information meeting to discuss the bank stabilization project and receive community input on several options for fixing the problem.

Since then, ODOT has studied possible solutions to the problem and met with various community organizations, such as Citizens for a Safe and Scenic Olentangy River Byway and the Community Oversight Foundation to discuss the project, said ODOT spokesperson Nancy Burton.

Information about the project is available at www.dot.state. oh.us/districts/D06/projects.

Laura Fay, of Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW), a nonprofit group that focuses on the quality of the river, said the group has a couple of concerns, including that ODOT plans to do the construction work from the river bank.

"With the focus that FLOW has on water quality in the river, using the river for construction is not ideal at all," she said. "It's hard to imagine all the materials and equipment in the area. And there's a chance that gas and oil could leak from the equipment."

Every day, about 24,000 vehicles travel Route 315 and about 18,000 travel on Powell Road. Keeping the roads open during the work is "a significant priority in design," said Dave Anderson, Liberty Township administrator. The project is in Liberty Township.