Anticipated traffic from the continued development of the New Albany International Business Park and surrounding areas paved the way for a new interchange at Mink Street and state Route 161, according to local officials.

Anticipated traffic from the continued development of the New Albany International Business Park and surrounding areas paved the way for a new interchange at Mink Street and state Route 161, according to local officials.

Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman Ericka Brause said ODOT considered future development when determining the necessity of the intersection.

"This allows us to kind of get ahead of the curve," she said.

ODOT has worked with the city of New Albany, which in turn is working with the New Albany Co., Brause said. The New Albany Co. purchased land in the area, so ODOT wanted to accommodate future traffic levels, she said.

The land recently was annexed into New Albany.

New Albany City Council on Oct. 4 approved the annexation of nearly 134 acres from Jersey Township.

The land north of state Route 161 will be part of the New Albany International Business Park's Personal Care and Beauty Campus, according to Tom Rubey, New Albany Co. executive vice president.

ODOT also took into account Columbus' growth when planning the interchange, Brause said.

Work on the $12.8 million interchange began Oct. 3, Brause said. The construction accounts for $8.6 million of the total cost. The project is funded by the state, and the Trucco Construction Co. is the primary contractor.

The work is estimated to be complete by Nov. 20, 2017, according to ODOT. During the project, Mink Street is expected to be closed at Route 161 through the middle of November; detour information has been posted by ODOT.

The area has seen an increase in traffic over the past few years.

In 2012, 33,130 vehicles per day traveled on Route 161 at Beech Road, Brause said. In 2015, that number increased to 38,499 vehicles per day, she said.

Licking County Engineer Bill Lozier said the Personal Care and Beauty Campus has caused a traffic increase in the area. Traffic generated by construction is the most prominent type of traffic Lozier said he has noticed.

"Those are heavy trucks," he said.

He said the construction vehicles cause wear and tear on local roads, which weren't designed to accommodate that type of traffic.

Interchanges are traffic generators, Lozier said, and increase the burden on local road systems. A concurrent project, the planned extension of Innovation Campus Way, should help distribute traffic onto local roads, he said.

Innovation Campus Way will be extended 1,500 feet west from Beech Road and 5,000 feet east from Harrison Road to Mink Street. Construction began in July and will be completed by the end of the year, according to city spokesman Scott McAfee.

A companion project to build Innovation Campus Way East is slated to start next month and will be completed by summer 2017, he said.

Six years ago, Albany made a $6.5 million investment in city road infrastructure in the Beech Road area to prepare for construction of buildings in the Personal Care and Beauty Campus, McAfee said. That led to over $800 million in private investment in the area and more than 3,300 new jobs.

The city is investing about $5.5 million in the extension of Innovation Campus Way to open more land up for development, McAfee said.

"So we expect similar development to occur, bringing about a similar number of jobs," he said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah