A corridor study involving Scioto Darby Road from the four-way stop at Leap Road and Darby Glen Boulevard to Walcutt Road is expected to conclude by the end of 2018, said Letty Schamp, Hilliard's deputy engineer.

The study, considered the first phase of the project, is expected to cost $188,000, Schamp said. Hilliard City Council on Nov. 27 approved the hiring of Indianapolis-based American Structurepoint to perform the study.

The four-way stop at Darby Glen, Leap and Scioto Darby effectively operates as an eight-way stop because each leg of the intersection has a left-turn lane and a through-traffic lane. A three-way signalized intersection at Scioto Darby and Walcutt roads is a short distance to the west.

The four-way stop is in Columbus and the signalized intersection is in Hilliard, Schamp said.

Columbus is partnering in the corridor study but Hilliard is funding it, she said. It is yet to be determined if and how soon Columbus would contribute to any improvements and it is possible Hilliard leaders would move forward independently with improvements on parts of the corridor within the city's jurisdiction, she said.

The study is expected to provide six alternatives for improvements to the corridor. Any changes would require right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation, Schamp said.

A public meeting tentatively is scheduled for July, she said.

"By the time we are doing our budget (at the end of 2018), we should have a game plan," Schamp said.

Because the corridor study is in its infancy and no proposals for improvements have been decided, she said, she could not quantify a potential cost for the project or estimate a timeline.

Meanwhile, Columbus officials said they are looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Hilliard leaders.

"We look forward to partnering with Hilliard to find ways to make the streets in Columbus and Hilliard safer and to ease congestion," said Jeff Ortega, assistant director of public services for Columbus. "We look forward to recommendations that will help determine a path moving forward."

The approved study follows outreaches that Councilman Les Carrier and former Councilman Joe Erb, who recently announced his resignation because he is moving, initiated earlier this year with Columbus officials to facilitate a collaborative approach.

About the same time, council President Nathan Painter received a letter from then-Hilliard Davidson High School senior Nicholas Hunt, a resident of Darby Glen, who shared his frustration about morning and evening traffic congestion at the subdivision's entrance.

Hunt now is a student at Columbus State Community College.

"I'm ... really excited to see that I actually made a change to the community," he said.