Residents and business owners are invited to a Nov. 22 open house to learn about the proposed interchange at Cherry Valley Road and state Route 16.

Residents and business owners are invited to a Nov. 22 open house to learn about the proposed interchange at Cherry Valley Road and state Route 16.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Licking County Area Transportation Study will be on hand from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Reese Center on the Ohio State University Newark campus to explain the options.

ODOT and LCATS are leading a study to alleviate traffic congestion and safety risks from the existing, high-volume intersection where Newark and Granville meet.

"The biggest thing is, you now have an interstate look-alike, where you could be driving from California, get on Interstate 270, then get on the state Route 161/37/16 corridor," said Sandie Mapel, LCATS technical director. "It still looks like the interstate, and then suddenly you come to a traffic light. This is the biggest driver - the safety and congestion. We've just outgrown the signalized intersection on this corridor."

The agencies examined seven alternatives, including doing nothing, building a "superstreet" intersection with more sophisticated traffic signals and a few different interchange layouts (some at the existing location and others about 2,000 feet away from the existing location. ODOT has recommended one design in particular but seeks public comment.

ODOT favors "Alternative 5," at a cost ranging from $33-million to $38-million. The option is a partial cloverleaf on ODOT's right of way. Associated road improvements would include an intersection at Granville Road, which could either be signalized with a traffic light or be a roundabout, Mapel said.

Julie Gwinn, project manager for ODOT, said the recommended option would have the least impact on environmental features near the site and the least impact on already developed businesses and land near the interchange. The design is intended to endure for about 20 years from the time of projected construction.

"We're looking at 2035 traffic," she said. "We want to build something that is large enough to accommodate traffic until that time."

The work done thus far has been funded by the state's Transportation Review Advisory Council, the body that reviews and approves significant transportation projects expected to cost more than $5-million. Currently, no TRAC funding has been awarded for construction at the interchange, but an application will be made soon, Gwinn said.

Mapel said ODOT would make information presentations at 4, 5 and 6 p.m., with the same information presented each time.

"We always get a ton of people right at 4 p.m., but you're probably better off coming at 6 p.m. because there's nobody there and you can get individual attention," Mapel said. "One of the biggest things is, we want to know their feelings about a traditional intersection with signals or a roundabout at those two intersections at Granville Road and Cherry Valley Road. We have drawings that show both ways, and we'll have video running both ways and how it looks when you are driving the roundabout."