German Village and other neighborhoods in and around south Columbus might face major roadway changes associated with the Interstate 70/Interstate 71 interchange project.

But residents will have time to prepare.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin work on the Grant Street bridge in January.

The city of Columbus will revamp a portion of East Livingston Avenue between South Fifth Street and Kennedy Drive.

ODOT officials said the reconstruction, which will take about a year, will close the bridge to motor vehicle traffic. A pedestrian bridge also will close.

The Livingston project, which will include sandstone curbs and other improvements, will take about nine months to complete.

"I think the upcoming traffic around the Grant-Livingston project will create a few temporary traffic headaches for Villagers and visitors getting in and out of the district -- but there are plenty of ways in and out," said Shiloh Todorov, executive director of the German Village Society.

Both are relatively small in the grand scheme of things: It will take about seven years to untangle the web of roadway on the south side of downtown Columbus.

Officials said the short-term frustrations will be worth it.

"It won't be perfect, but it will be much better," said Leslie Montgomery, project manager for ODOT.

Traffic patterns are going to change significantly on the northern edge of German Village.

An offramp from eastbound I-70 will be moved to the north side of the Front Street bridge, which also will be improved. The plan is to make Livingston a two-way street between South Third Street and Parsons Avenue. It is now one-way eastbound between Front and South Fourth Street.

That means the Third Street ramps to eastbound and westbound I-70 will be eliminated.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the freeway, officials will create two separate ramps -- one to eastbound I-70 and another to northbound I-71 -- at West Mound and Second streets.

The project also is expected to make things easier for commuters by creating two ramps -- one to I-70 east and another to I-71 south -- at Grant Avenue.

Bridges will get a fresh new look and, possibly, retail tenants.

Both bridges at High and Third will be rebuilt and decoratively landscaped, with plenty of room for pedestrians.

And, if a developer is found, they will be capped, meaning the bridge deck will have room for retail uses. The bridges at Front and Fourth will be rebuilt, beautified and made safer for pedestrians, but there isn't enough room for capping, Montgomery said.

The project timeline has changed numerous times over the years, as have the plans, Montgomery said at a public meeting July 11 in the German Village Meeting Haus.

Todorov said it is "still not clear when we will see these results or exactly how they'll look."

"(Although) if the pedestrian-friendly crossing to the new capped bridges could happen tomorrow, that would be a huge, welcome step," she said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary