Although construction is more than a year away, Westerville planners already are looking ahead to a $13 million renovation of Cleveland Avenue, one of the city's most traveled roads.

Although construction is more than a year away, Westerville planners already are looking ahead to a $13 million renovation of Cleveland Avenue, one of the city's most traveled roads.

The renovations will be centered around the intersection of Cleveland and Schrock Road at the city's southwest corner, and will reach north toward Mount Carmel St. Ann's Hospital.

Currently in the planning stages, the project would add an additional northbound lane and a southbound right-turn lane at Schrock Road. An additional left-turn lane would also be added on Schrock heading east to facilitate turns onto northbound Cleveland.

The project will come on the heels of the city of Columbus' reconfiguring of the Cleveland Avenue interchange with Interstate 270, where construction remains underway.

Westerville Planning and Development Director Karl Craven said the Cleveland-Schrock changes are a massive undertaking, but he expects traffic through the area to flow much better after improvements.

"It's definitely a major improvement," he said. "There are a lot of safety concerns at that intersection right now with safety issues and some crashes. So this is supposed to improve all of that."

Complicating the project is that only one corner of the intersection -- the northeast -- is fully within Westerville's boundaries. The other three corners are in the city of Columbus, creating necessary cooperation on the project between the two cities.

"There are benefits," he said. "They're a much larger jurisdiction than the city of Westerville, and have worked in cooperation with other communities as well and at the state level. And there is (Ohio Department of Transportation) money involved, so their understanding of how this works makes them another side of the team that we don't necessarily have."

Craven said the renovations will cost just over $13 million. But the city will be on the hook for a surprisingly small portion of that number, thanks to multiple grants.

Westerville received a safety grant from ODOT for $4.5 million as well as $4.4 million in "attributable federal funds" through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

And near the end of 2014, city staff got more good news, receiving a recommendation from the Ohio Public Works Commission for another $3.3 million grant.

With more than $12 million in outside funding secured for the project, Craven cites his staff's hard work to find alternative funding as a main reason the project will be completed.

"To get something like this funded is difficult," he said. "And because the intersection itself is not under city of Westerville control, we needed the cooperation of the city of Columbus. So our schedules and priorities don't necessarily line up at any given point of time.

"But we were lucky that as we started assembling some grants and sources of revenues, it made it easier for Columbus to say, 'This is the right time.' "

And keeping the burden off local taxpayers is a point of pride for Craven and his staff.

"It's been satisfying," he said. "We've got a great team here in Westerville with a great staff and (civil engineering firm) EMH&T did a nice job putting all of our applications together. So I feel great about that.

"I think this is a project that if we weren't able to line up this type of funding, it would probably have gone undone."

City staff will begin working on right-of-way acquisition in 2015, while construction won't begin until June or July of 2016.

Craven targets the end of 2017 as a completion date.