Canal Winchester will open bids March 1 for the first phase of improvements to Gender Road.

Canal Winchester will open bids March 1 for the first phase of improvements to Gender Road.

The village was awarded a $2-million Ohio Public Works Commission grant for intersection improvements at Gender Road and Winchester Boulevard and at Gender Road and Foxhill Drive.

Public works director Matt Peoples said at village council's service committee meeting on Monday, Feb. 21, that he expects to bring legislation to the full council on March 7.

"We wanted to get it out there in front of the service (committee) to get a sponsor for that," he said. "We have been talking about this for quite a few years."

Peoples said Canal Winchester applied for OPWC funding for the 2010 construction season but was not successful. Village officials expanded the project, brought it back and were awarded the funding, he said.

The project now includes the intersection of Winchester Boulevard and Gender Road. Plans call for adding a southbound turn lane on eastbound Winchester Boulevard.

"There is a lot of capacity for turns there," he said. "People go to Walmart, pick up dinner and then go home. We do believe a second turn lane is advantageous for us and would take care of a lot of congestion."

As part of the Gender Road improvements, a median will be added on Gender Road near Winchester Boulevard, in line with O'Charley's and Walgreens. There were two rollover crashes at the intersection last year, in September and November, Peoples said.

"They went off the road due to a T-bone accident (caused by) a car coming off the private drive on Winchester Boulevard," he said.

Plans call for installing a three-foot median to prevent left turns onto Winchester Boulevard from the private drives, thus eliminating cross traffic movement. Because there is no designated turn lane, it has been a problem from the beginning, Peoples said.

He said village officials met with representatives of the Casto Co., which owns the private driveways. Casto doesn't want to see a median go in but reluctantly agreed to have one installed because of traffic studies and accident histories, he said.

"Their own traffic engineer recommended one there as well," Mayor Michael Ebert said.

Plans also call for a new traffic signal at the intersection of Prentiss School Drive and Winchester Boulevard. Traffic studies have indicated a traffic signal could work there until Winchester Boulevard is extended further west, Peoples said. But that project is at least seven years out, he told the service committee.

The project also adds a center left turn lane at Foxhill Drive and Gender Road that will relieve a lot of congestion for northbound traffic, Peoples said.

"If you have been there at school arrival or dismissal, one person who wants to make a left turn backs everyone up," he said.

Peoples said 65 percent of the project's cost is being covered by the OPWC grant. A village request for a loan to cover the remaining 35 percent was not approved but Canal Winchester's portion of the project is covered in the village budget, he said.

"We will not have the major reconstruction in the CIP (capital improvement program) that we normally have," he said. "This project is going to be very positive to both intersections."

Construction is expected to start some time in the spring, Peoples later told ThisWeek.