Pickerington Times-Sun

Public hearing on 'K' intersection is March 27

Concerns about funding might hamper the city's plans

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Pickerington officials are still contemplating how to remedy the city's problematic "K" intersection of Center Street, Milnor Road and Meadows Boulevard.

The intersection is labeled as such because Milnor Road and Meadows Boulevard carry into Center Street to form a "K."

Pickerington City Engineer Scott Tourville said the city is looking at several realignment alternatives to increase both safety and functionality of the confusing intersection despite funding issues that could pull the plug on the project altogether.

A public hearing about the matter was scheduled for Thursday, March 27, at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 286 Hill Road North in Pickerington.

Tourville stressed that without additional funding from outside agencies, the project will likely not advance to construction.

"The project timeline would be to select an alternative to design after the public comment period," Tourville said.

"We would acquire the right of way in 2015 with construction in 2016," he said.

"The project is not guaranteed to go forward, however, because of the significant gap between funding and project costs.

"There are currently four different configurations and a 'no build' alternative," Tourville said.

"We have looked at separating the intersections so there would be a separate "T" intersection for Center-Meadows and Center-Milnor," he said.

"This could be done in two different configurations, both of which would include a signal at Center-Milnor," Tourville said.

Another option would be to terminate Meadows Boulevard as a cul-de-sac and a fourth alternative would be to construct a roundabout at the intersection, Tourville said.

Pickerington City Council approved the hiring of Newark-based engineering consultant Jobes Henderson in August 2012 to help design the proposed project for up to $133,000.

A public hearing to consider options was targeted to occur in the spring of 2013, but was placed on the back burner.

"The project just wasn't quite ready at that time, and with the transition of the engineering department it took a little while to get the project moving again," Tourville said.

Pickerington City Council's Service Committee held a special meeting March 18 and voted 3-1 to select the roundabout configuration, one which was recommended by Tourville.

He said a roundabout would provide the best long-term solution.

"By making the intersection a roundabout, we will be able to keep full access to all streets as currently exist, while safely and efficiently moving traffic through the area," Tourville said

Whatever option is ultimately chosen, it will require the hill on Center Street to be reduced to increase site distance.

"That is one of the major criteria for the project," Tourville said.

Serious funding issues, however, might prevent the proposed improvements from ever seeing the light of day.

A grant from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission would cover only $500,000 of the expected $1.4 to $1.6 million cost to fix the "K" intersection, Tourville said.

"This gap is probably too much for the city to cover, so unless we get additional funding, we probably will not be moving forward with this project," he said.

Pickerington City Manager Bill Vance advised the Service Committee $80,000 has already been expended on design costs up to now.

There is a glimmer of hope.

The city will be required to update MORPC on its funding status by "early summer" whereupon it plans to seek additional funding "to help keep this project feasible," Tourville said.

The public will get a chance to weigh in on all four options by submitting comments to the city of Pickerington by April 11, 2014.

Questions and comments can be directed to Tourville at STourville@Pickerington.net.

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