Local and regional leaders will be asking residents at a public forum next week for their input on how to improve the western stretches of state Route 161 near Worthington.

The meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, in the cafeteria of Thomas Worthington High School, 300 W. Dublin-Granville Road.

Worthington, Columbus, Perry Township, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the Ohio Department of Transportation have been working together for more than a year to research how they can fix the Route 161 corridor between Olentangy River Road and Sawmill Road.

ODOT project manager Brian Davidson said the groups have assembled an advisory committee of representatives from the organizations and "some stakeholders and folks along the corridor who we thought would be able to contribute."

The committee spent several months determining the keys to fixing the area. It determined the focuses would be reducing "vehicular delay" at the intersection of Route 161 and Linworth Road, improving pedestrian access and addressing frequent rear-end crashes.

Smaller concerns included reducing delays at the railroad crossing to the west of Linworth and improving access for bicyclists.

"As we identify those needs and we met together, we started addressing some of the specific concerns with regard to those needs and what the advisory committee would like to see," Davidson said.

Now, Davidson said, ODOT is ready to present "quite a few alternatives" to the public, including the addition of roundabouts, more lanes and altered traffic patterns.

He said the alternatives represent a small percentage of the best options the committee had been discussing.

"What we're bringing to the public meeting now is what we've whittled down to the most realistic alternatives," he said.

Davidson said he hopes preferred alternatives will emerge from the meeting, where he and others will be on hand to answer questions and gather input from residents or those interested in the project.

"We're looking to hear from people about what they want to see improved, what concerns they have and how it may impact their property that we haven't considered," Davidson said.

ODOT is not yet prepared to share the alternatives; Davidson said they might be altered as late as the day of the meeting.

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