The Ohio Department of Transportation is still working on plans to widen state Route 315 near Powell Road and to take steps to prevent sections of the highway from slipping into the Olentangy River.

The preliminary engineering phase is expected to be completed in April, ODOT spokesperson Brian Hedge said March 22. The Columbus engineering firm CH2M Hill is developing the preliminary plans.

"The preliminary engineering will tell us what we can do, what different treatments we can use," Hedge said. "We have a tentative date for construction of 2012, but that could change, based on the preliminary engineering."

At a December 2008 public meeting, ODOT representatives presented several options for stabilizing the riverbank to area residents. They said staff members have been monitoring erosion on the west bank of the river for a number of years. That erosion is putting stress on Route 315 near Jewett Road and in an area about a half-mile north of Powell Road.

The suggested stabilizing treatments ranged from concrete walls to soil-bio engineering, which uses vegetation on the slopes.

Hedge said the preliminary work will help ODOT "narrow the options and develop firmer plans of what to build."

When those narrowed options are determined, ODOT will likely hold another public meeting to share the plans, Hedge said, but no meeting is yet scheduled.

The plan still includes putting in turn lanes on Powell Road, but not on Route 315, Hedge said.

ODOT will widen Powell Road on the west side of Route 315 near the intersection to construct a turning lane, he said. On the east side of the intersection, "the tentative plan is to re-stripe the bridge to create a turn lane," Hedge said. "We're not going to construct a new bridge."

He said ODOT gets calls now requesting that the department re-stripe the bridge to include a turn lane for traffic traveling west on Powell Road.

"We get the suggestion a lot to go out and stripe the bridge, but we can't because it would not line up correctly," Hedge said.

The cost of the project cannot be determined until more details are known, he said.