Residents desiring a leisure-trail connection between Hilliard and Columbus on Hayden Run Road beneath the Interstate 270 overpass likely will need to wait a year.

Cornell Robertson, the acting Franklin County engineer, said the Ohio Department of Transportation responded to inquiries from Hilliard officials by reporting the connection was not feasible as part of a concurrent improvements project on I-270.

Instead, Robertson said, he planned to "investigate the concept" with other entities that would be required to be part of such a project.

"It would likely be a phased project," he said, and obstacles include whether it is best to widen the Hayden Run Road bridge where it crosses a culvert just east of I-270 or to build a separate bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The project would involve Columbus, Franklin County, Hilliard and ODOT.

Hayden Run Road west of I-270 closed June 19 for a Hilliard project to widen the shoulders of the road and build a multiuse recreational path on the north and south sides of Hayden Run Road in the city's boundaries, said Clark Rausch, Hilliard's deputy engineer. The $838,500 project is expected to be complete in eight weeks, Rausch said.

Multiuse paths already run along Hayden Run Road east of I-270 at Hayden Lofts in Columbus, but in between is a small section of Hayden Run Road that remains in the unincorporated area of Franklin County, Robertson said.

ODOT's involvement is required because of the freeway overpass but the agency would not be expected to fund any part of a project, he said.

Any project to connect the multiuse paths in Hilliard to those in Columbus would at least require a financial agreement between Hilliard and Franklin County, Robertson said.

"We're looking at options to complete the gap. It won't be easy but there is a solution to every problem," he said.

Earlier this year, Hilliard City Councilman Les Carrier appealed to several central Ohio leaders to determine if the connection could be made as part of ODOT's improvements project on I-270.