Pickerington city manager Bill Vance has recommended setting aside $200,000 in the 2011 budget toward improvements to state Route 256.

Pickerington city manager Bill Vance has recommended setting aside $200,000 in the 2011 budget toward improvements to state Route 256.

That amount won't come close to funding the estimated $4-million to $5-million cost of the project, but it would put the city in better position to solicit grant money for the upgrades, according to city engineer Greg Bachman.

The budget plan still requires approval from Pickerington City Council.

Bachman said the appropriation, along with $600,000 the city already has set aside for the project, could go a long way in helping Pickerington land a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation to make the improvements within the next couple years.

In March, Bachman presented a plan for improving safety along Route 256 that called for the addition of a third southbound lane that would extend from the entrance of the Marcus Cinema at 1766 Hill Road North, to Refugee Road.

He also would like an additional northbound lane to be built approaching state Route 204 and an additional northbound lane approaching the I-70 exit ramp.

City council has been holding budget work sessions for several weeks, but is expected to be presented with an official 2011 budget ordinance at its next regular meeting, slated for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at City Hall, 100 Lockville Road.

A decision on funding for the Route 256 project, as well as the entire city operating budget, is expected to be finalized before the end of the year.

For more on this story, see the Dec. 2 edition of ThisWeek Pickerington.