Canal Winchester will seek state funding for an estimated $1.4-million project to improve the intersection at Gender Road and Winchester Boulevard.

Canal Winchester will seek state funding for an estimated $1.4-million project to improve the intersection at Gender Road and Winchester Boulevard.

Public works director Matt Peoples said during council's service committee meeting last week that he and other staff members have been trying to decide whether to improve that intersection or focus on a section of Gender Road further south near Fox Hill Drive and Groveport Road.

"We've had it on our radar for a while," Peoples said. "But after weighing both of these projects heavily, we have decided to go through with the Gender Road-Winchester Boulevard project."

The project is included in the village's five-year capital improvements plan, which still needs to be approved by village council.

Council heard the first reading of an ordinance outlining capital improvement projects on Aug. 18. Peoples said he expects council to suspend the rules and hear the second and third readings of the legislation and approve it at its next meeting on Sept. 2.

"I'm really glad to see you're doing that," Councilman John Bender said of the intersection work. "We really need that."

Because of the size of the project, Peoples said he would like council to approve legislation to allow the mayor to seek financial assistance from two Ohio Public Works Commission programs -- the State Capital Improvement Program and the Local Transportation Improvement Program.

Council members gave the financial assistance ordinance its first reading Aug. 18 and is expected to suspend the rules to possibly approve the legislation by Sept. 2.

According to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Sept. 8 is the deadline to apply for OPWC funding.

Peoples said he and engineers from EMH&T are working to make Canal Winchester's application as strong as it can be. He added that by asking for less money, the application will score more points toward acceptance.

"It's a puzzle putting it all together," Peoples said.

According to information from the Village of Canal Winchester Department of Public Works, work at the Gender Road-Winchester Boulevard intersection would include modifying traffic signal timing in order to produce a smoother traffic flow.

Plans also call for:

Adding a second turn lane on southbound Gender Road to eastbound Winchester Boulevard.

Widening southbound Gender Road to maintain a southbound through lane.

Widening the pavement to retain a right-turn lane on southbound Gender Road to westbound Winchester Boulevard.

Replacing span-wire traffic signals with mast-arm signals.

Improvements would affect approximately 960 feet of Gender Road.

Peoples said an average of 22,000 motorists travel Gender Road at Winchester Boulevard every day. From Jan. 1, 2005 to July, 19, 2008, he said, 140 accidents have occurred there.

"So, we really need this," Bender said after hearing the figures.

Zhuo Junjiang, a traffic engineer and monitor in MORPC's transportation department, said late last week that current figures show this section of Gender Road is a "little big congested, but not a very severe problem."

Zhuo added that a severe traffic figure for this section would be about 33,000 motorists per day.

ebrooks@thisweeknews.com