Two roads near Alum Creek State Park would benefit from a multimillion-dollar improvement project in the works in Delaware County.

Delaware County's commissioners Jan. 25 approved a contract for up to $338,839 with Columbus-based Mead and Hunt for engineering work on an effort to resurface and widen portions of Africa and Cheshire roads.

Delaware County Engineer Chris Bauserman said the widening project would add "safety shoulders" -- paved shoulders instead of dirt or gravel -- on Africa Road from Jaycox Road north to Cheshire Road, and on Cheshire Road from Old State Road east to Africa Road.

Bauserman said the project should make the roadways safer for the various vehicles that visit Alum Creek Reservoir.

"There's a lot of bicycle (and) recreational traffic in the area because of the reservoir and recreation activities there," he said. "Also, there are a lot of people pulling trailers and boats through the area as well, so we think this is a good candidate for this type of project."

According to county records, the engineering firm also has been asked to determine if turn lanes are warranted at intersections along Africa Road in the project area.

While commissioners voted to move ahead with design work on the project last week, Bauserman said construction may be years away.

"I think we're still a year and a half or so away, so construction would be in 2020," he said.

Bauserman said work on the selected portion of Africa Road, which stretches from northern Orange Township through Berlin Township, could cost about $4 million. He said work on the selected portion of Cheshire Road, which sits in Berlin Township, could cost an additional $1 million.

He said the county has secured a federal grant to fund up to 80 percent of construction costs on the roadways.

The project is the latest in a series of county efforts to improve safety conditions near Alum Creek Reservoir.

The county last year oversaw the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Bale Kenyon and Lewis Center roads just south of the body of water in Orange Township. The $2.5 million project also included the installation of a new deck surface on the bridge over Alum Creek directly east of the intersection.


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