In response to the city of Pickerington's solicitation for communitywide input, several residents weighed in about the city's upcoming Refugee Road Corridor Project.

In response to the city of Pickerington's solicitation for communitywide input, several residents weighed in about the city's upcoming Refugee Road Corridor Project.

The proposed $12 million to $13 million overhaul to Refugee Road is set to start at the end of summer 2018.

However, in order to receive federal funding for the major reconstruction project, the city first had to receive community feedback prior to beginning the right-of-way acquisition process in 2017.

"Allowing those users to provide their input, thoughts, ideas and concerns helps ensure that we construct the most appropriate project that addresses the issues in the best possible way," said Scott Tourville, Pickerington's city engineer.

He said there were several concerns about the potential noise that increased traffic in the corridor would have on adjoining residential areas.

Tourville said a noise analyst the city used for the project took into account existing traffic volumes, speed and roadway conditions as well as the same factors projected for the year 2038.

The 20-year projection also took into consideration the proposed roadway widening and a future roundabout at Fullers Way to predict noise levels in the residential units along the Refugee Corridor.

The Ohio Department of Transportation predicted a 50 percent higher traffic volume on Refugee Road in 2038 in light of "reasonable foreseeable population and commercial growth."

According to the noise study conducted by the city, despite the expected traffic growth, there is no corresponding noise impact.

The study indicated Year 2018 noise levels for homes nearest Refugee Road and Farmbrook Estates range from 60 to 62 decibels while the Year 2038 projections range from 63 to 65 decibels.

Tourville said the increase of 2 decibels over a 20-year period would be barely perceptible.

"None of the homes in Farmbrook Estates would be impacted by design year noise levels and noise abatement is not warranted," Tourville said.

That means there would be no future need for noise walls along the corridor, he said.

About 1.3 miles of Refugee Road from Wheatfield Drive to Woodstock Avenue will be widened in the Pickerington city limits to increase roadway capacity.

Reconstruction, resurfacing, intersection improvements and the installation of a bike path are some of the improvements planned.

The project will not extend to the Hines-Refugee intersection. That is in the city of Columbus.

The project will be funded by a $3.5 million grant from ODOT and a $5.75 million grant from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. An estimated $4.4 million derived from the OhioHealth tax-increment financing agreement was projected to be used for the project; however, that amount could be cut in half because of a devaluation of the taxable value of the OhioHealth medical campus property.

"We're always on the lookout for other possible grant opportunities, and much of the project cost is in right-of-way and utility phases," Tourville said.

He said whereas city officials believe they have accurate estimates for those phases, "if they come in significantly different than estimated, we'll need to be able to make some decisions in short order."

The city will now begin the process to acquire right-of-way land from about 40 properties on Refugee Road.

"We start by reviewing each parcel along the corridor to ensure it's properly valued, and then work with the impacted owners to acquire the land necessary for the project," Tourville said.

The right-of-way acquisition "will last well into 2018," he said.

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