Long-awaited turn lanes on state Route 315 at Powell Road opened last week and already are cutting down on traffic delays for southern Delaware County drivers.
"The different detour routes that residents and visitors were taking into Powell are less traveled now as a result of the road being reopened," said Powell spokeswoman Megan Canavan. "This helps during peak traffic times."
The Ohio Department of Transportation shut down the intersection Sept. 16 to decrease the grade of the Powell Road hill and construct the turn lanes.
Work was completed Nov. 26, 10 days behind schedule because of poor weather conditions and "utility relocation issues" during construction, said ODOT spokeswoman Nancy Burton.
Liberty Township Administrator Dave Anderson said the timing on the traffic lights at the intersection is set to be programmed for the new road configuration this week.
The usefulness of the turn lanes " ... will quickly show in the morning and evening flow of traffic commuters being improved in the coming weeks," he said.
But this isn't the end of planned work at the intersection. Burton said ODOT will close Powell Road west of Route 315 in early 2014 to construct turn lanes on that road as well. Construction is expected to last 45 days with a marked detour leading drivers on Route 315 to U.S. Route 23 to U.S. Route 42 to state Route 257.
While there is no definitive timeline for the project's second phase, permits allow for construction until May 15.
Although a break in the work means the project will remain unfinished until next year, it is a respite for drivers who have also had to maneuver lane closures and dodge construction equipment on Route 23.
"The upcoming ODOT work at 270 and 23 over the next few years will create many new wrinkles in regional traffic management," Anderson said. "Liberty Township will continue to partner with ODOT to improve our traffic system in the region."