An Olde Pickerington street dubbed "the road to nowhere" could improve local traffic flow and yield business opportunities if it is extended, according to city officials.

An Olde Pickerington street dubbed "the road to nowhere" could improve local traffic flow and yield business opportunities if it is extended, according to city officials.

Nine years ago, Town Square Drive was constructed as an entryway to Olde Pickerington Village from Hill Road North.

At the time, however, the side street known among city officials and some residents as "the road to nowhere" stopped about 700 feet short of a logical connection with Center Street. The abrupt terminus was due to Bus Service Inc., which owned a service garage on approximately 3.15 acres directly in Town Square Drive's path.

Since then, city officials have shaken and scratched their heads, lamenting the ineffectiveness of the roadway and searching for ways to connect it to Center Street without breaking the bank.

Now, they think they might have a plan.

On July 21, Pickerington City Council unanimously approved the first reading of legislation to spend up to $125,000 to connect Town Square Drive to Center Street by including it in a project to install a $1.1-million storm sewer in the area.

"Beheler (Excavating Inc.) is putting in a 54-inch storm sewer, and part of it would be right under where this proposed road extension would be," city engineer Greg Bachman said. "So, as they're putting in this backfill for the storm sewer, they can put down the base for the roadway.

"We can save money because we would be doing it all at one time and there's no mobilization of costs for separate contractors."

The connection is possible because in November 2003, the city purchased the Bus Service site for $390,000. The company vacated the land 10 months later.

Council is expected to hear a second reading of the proposed legislation on Aug. 4. If no problems arise, the project likely would launch in October, and the eastern extension of Town Square Drive would be completed sometime in November.

"The time to act is now because of the limited time we have for (Beheler) working on the water line down there," said Councilman Brian Wisniewski, who chairs the service committee.

According to Bachman, the extension would better disperse traffic through Olde Pickerington by providing another arterial through the historic downtown. It also could create commercial development opportunities.

"If we connect Town Square Drive to Center Street, that opens up Town Square Drive on both sides to development," he said.

Currently, Bachman said, most motorists are forced to take Hill Road North to Columbus Street, where they drive east to access businesses and homes in the area. He noted it takes time to get through a split traffic signal at Columbus and Center streets for those wishing to head south to Lockville Road -- where Pickerington City Hall and Victory Park are located.

Bachman said motorists could leave Hill Road North and take Town Square Drive to Center Street. From there, they could travel to Columbus Street and further parts south.

"This new road, you wouldn't have to cross the railroad tracks at all," he said. "Now, basically, if something happens on the tracks, it kind of cuts the downtown traffic off."

Some council members were concerned the extension could create safety concerns because it would be used as a "cut-through" route. However, Bachman said speed limits likely would remain low in the area because there would be stop signs at the intersections of Town Square Drive and Center Street, Center and East streets and Center and Columbus streets.

He also said a small traffic circle or island -- but not a full-fledged roundabout -- could be installed where Town Square Drive currently ends.

"Rather than tear out that cul de sac and continue the road, my thought was to put a center island in there so people would have to slow down to go around the island," he said.

nellis@thisweeknews.com