The odds of Pickerington being awarded a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation for the state Route 256-Diley Road "roundabout" proposal appeared to City Engineer Greg Bachman to be a long shot back in March.
Bachman said he is a tad more optimistic now that ODOT appears more receptive to the idea.
"The grant was applied for in March," Bachman said.
"We had a presentation to ODOT District 5 in April that went well and we got recommended to advance to ODOT Central Office," he said.
Because he retired May 10, one of Bachman's last official duties as City Engineer was to make a presentation espousing the merits of the roundabout grant application to ODOT on the same day. Now the city must simply wait for the news.
"The city should hear back from ODOT on the grant award by early June," he said.
A roundabout is a circular intersection, with a central island, which allows traffic to flow uninterrupted in one direction and requires no traffic light.
Bachman said a roundabout is needed for the intersection to both increase safety and reduce vehicular congestion.
According to Bachman, there are approximately 25,000 vehicles per day on Route 256 and 10,000 per day on Diley Road, making congestion a real problem at the intersection.
He said a roundabout there would reduce rush hour congestion by 50 percent.
Bachman also made his pitch May 10 to the Mingo Estates Civic Association.
"I was invited as an item on their agenda to give them some background on the possible roundabout," he said.
Bachman assured the Mingo Estates residents a roundabout would have a minimal impact on the subdivision.
"The roundabout would change the configuration of Grandview Avenue onto S.R. 256, but not change anything within Mingo Estates," Bachman said.
He said vehicles within the subdivision would also "have less wait time getting out than they do now with the traffic signal."
Bachman said the city can expect more traffic once Diley Crossroads, a commercial development at the intersection, is completed.
"A roundabout will handle the additional traffic better than the existing signal, so the additional traffic does slightly increase the roundabout's funding chances," he said.
The grant proposal calls for the roundabout to be constructed with primary funding from ODOT and the balance provided by developers.
The developers in question are the owners of Discount Drug Mart Plaza, who have asserted that a roundabout would give tenants and customers better access to the property as well as allow u-turns.
"The estimated cost is $1.4 million," Bachman said.
"We are requesting 90 percent ODOT funding, 10-percent developer funding, with no money from the city."