It's the busiest intersection in Gahanna and in a few years will have more pedestrian traffic.

It's the busiest intersection in Gahanna and in a few years will have more pedestrian traffic.

Those are two of the reasons Gahanna has scheduled improvements to Hamilton Road at Granville Street and Havens Corners Road.
Gahanna City Council on Monday approved three pieces of legislation related to the project. All were related to required right-of-way purchases.

"These improvements are the result of a safety engineering study completed in 2005 that listed this intersection as a priority and enabled the city to apply for and be awarded 90-percent funding for detailed design, right of way and construction for the improvements," said Michael Andrako, Gahanna's assistant engineer.

The $1.63-million project includes improvements to right-turn lanes for northbound, southbound and eastbound traffic, with an additional left-turn lane for southbound traffic.

Andrako said concrete medians would be added to the north, east and west parts of the intersection. Traffic signals will be brought up to city standards for mast arms, also including video cameras and battery backups.

The city is receiving 90 percent of the funding from the state. The city is funding only $163,000 of the project.

Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools officials are watching the project closely because the school is building Clark Hall, a new high school learning center, on the northwest corner of the intersection. The existing high school is on the southeast corner of the intersection, which means students might have to cross the busy streets to gain access to the new building, which is expected to be built in 2011.

Andrako said students already walk across the intersection to get from a parking lot to the existing high school.

Mark White, Gahanna-Jefferson assistant superintendent, said some students already have classes in other buildings across the street, and they have to cross the intersection. After Clark Hall is built, more students will be crossing back and forth to get to the additional parking spaces and to the new building.

Andrako said the city could do a few things to minimize problems related to pedestrian crossings. The city could install signs that restrict turning on red, as well as button-activated signal changes for pedestrians to cross. That would mean no one could turn on red when pedestrians are crossing, he said.

Another option is to install what are called refuge islands. These allow people to cross part of the intersection, stopping safely when the light changes, and then continuing when it changes again, he said. The city also could increase the amount of time available for pedestrians to cross the intersection, he said.

Andrako said a pedestrian bridge has been suggested, as has a tunnel. He said a bridge might require too much of the right of way, and a tunnel might have to be built too deep to avoid water lines.

"We are trying to do as many things as we can to make it safe," Andrako said.

Improvements are expected to be completed by fall 2011, Andrako said.