A busy Liberty Township intersection will close for much of the summer as a roundabout aimed at easing congestion is installed.

The Delaware County Engineer's Office started construction June 4 on a single-lane traffic circle at the intersection of Jewett and Liberty roads, just south of the Powell city limits.

Jewett Road closed last week between the intersection and the railroad tracks to the east.

Liberty Road remains open for now but is expected to close in early July until construction is complete, said Rob Riley, chief deputy engineer for the county.

Officials hope to reopen the intersection by the end of August.

"We know it's a huge inconvenience for the people out there," Riley said. "We're recommending Sawmill Parkway as the alternate."

The $1.3 million project is being funded in part from a $495,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission. The county will cover the remaining costs, Riley said.

About 12,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day, according to the county's traffic counts. County leaders expect that number to climb by 60 percent by 2036.

Currently, the T-shaped intersection is controlled by three stop signs. County officials looked at two other options for the intersection – doing nothing or installing a traffic signal – before deciding to build a roundabout.

Engineers started exploring a fix for the intersection about six years ago to address traffic backing up onto the nearby railroad tracks.

"We initiated a study to look at options to address what, at that time, was a pretty severe traffic backup along Jewett Road," Riley said.

The three-way stop worked "OK for a time," but never was meant to be a permanent fix, Riley said.

"We were basically still at a delay but balancing it out across three legs of the road," he said.

Officials determined a traffic signal would be more expensive and no more beneficial than a roundabout.

"All the data supports that they are safer, and in this case the traffic volumes are the right fit for a roundabout," Riley said. "In a lot of cases people like the roundabout because they don't have to sit at a light. We think in this environment, a single-lane roundabout fits extremely well."

For more information on the project, visit tinyurl.com/jewettroundabout.

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