Worthington News

$9.7 million

Junction redesign another step closer to getting started

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A $9.7 million renovation project at the intersection of Huntley, Wilson Bridge and Worthington-Galena roads in Worthington is one step closer to beginning after Worthington City Council approved a request for proposals March 20.

The project, which has been in the works for more than a year, is intended to relieve congestion at one of the city's busiest intersections.

"It's the main gateway to two of our most important business corridors," City Manager Matt Greeson said.

Most of the funding for the project -- about $7 million, according to Greeson -- is coming from such noncity sources as a grant from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, but city officials still are determining how to pay for the remaining $2.7 million local match, as well as such alternatives as the Ohio Public Works Commission and other grants.

The proposals will include grant-writing options and planning the intersection itself, which could be a traditional stoplight or even a roundabout, depending on the proposal the city chooses.

Greeson said city leaders are targeting June 2015 as a deadline to finish preliminary engineering, a preferred alternative plan, discussions with the community and an environmental-impact analysis.

The next step is the March 20 meeting for engineering firms to help familiarize companies with the project and answer technical questions.

"On a lot of projects that we do, potential proposers may have questions that they want to ask," Greeson said. "In this case, we're going to have an open pre-proposal meeting where they can ask those questions. A lot of it will be technical kind of things."

The entire project is scheduled to be in construction and finished in Worthington's fiscal year 2018, though it's still early in the process.

As is often the case with large-scale projects, the process for the renovation of the intersection has seemed to drag slowly along, and council president Bonnie Michael seemed relieved to finally be taking steps in the right direction.

"It seems like it's taken forever to get to this point," Michael said. "I'm very glad to see it get to this part of the process."

Despite the time, effort and money, Greeson said, it will all be worth it.

"It's a great project," he said. "It's impactful for commuters; it's impactful for not only Worthington's, but central Ohio's large businesses, and we're grateful to have the federal funds to be able to move the project forward."

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