Delaware County officials expect a roundabout aimed at easing congestion just south of Powell to be open to traffic by August.

The county's commissioners Oct. 30 unanimously approved a $1.17 million contract with Strawser Paving to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Jewett and Liberty roads in Liberty Township. The T-shaped intersection, which sits about 2 miles west of state Route 315, currently is controlled by three stop signs.

Rob Riley, chief deputy engineer for the county, said workers should begin constructing the roundabout in May, with an estimated completion date set for August.

Commissioners last summer accepted $495,000 in grant funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission to put toward the project. The county will pay for the remainder of the improvement's cost.

Riley said the bidding process for the project was "very competitive." He said Columbus-based Strawser Paving submitted the lowest price among 11 firms.

"We have not worked with Strawser as a prime contractor; however, they have done a lot of work for us as a subcontractor in our road-improvement program," he said. "We don't have any hesitation to go ahead and recommend (awarding) this contract."

Riley said he thinks the county's decision to bid the project well in advance led to a competitive bidding process.

"I think a lot of it is timing," he said. "The contractors are trying to lock up their work for next summer, so the timing of this bid was good."

Commissioner Jeff Benton said motorists who have gone through the intersection recently should have noticed changes as workers complete preliminary efforts for the improvement.

"I drove by there the other day (and) they're moving along, starting to get things lined up," he said. "That's going to be a good project."

The county closed Jewett Road between Liberty Road and the railroad crossing just east of the intersection for portions of two days last week to allow workers to clear trees.

County officials looked at two other options for the intersection before approving a roundabout: doing nothing or installing a traffic signal. Officials determined the existing and projected congestion required some action and concluded a traffic signal would be more expensive and no more beneficial than a roundabout.

The roundabout may not be the lone upgrade along Liberty Road in the coming years. County and Powell officials plan to seek grant funding to install a new traffic signal about 2 miles north of the crossroads, at the intersection of Liberty and Seldom Seen roads.

Construction on that project could begin by late 2019 or early 2020 if the Ohio Public Works Commission approves the city's grant application.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@twgallick