Delaware County officials hope the construction of a roundabout near Olentangy High School will ease traffic congestion and improve safety conditions as houses continue to spring up off Lewis Center Road.

Rob Riley, chief deputy engineer for the county, in late January said 95 percent of the design work had been completed for improvements planned at the intersection of Lewis Center and North roads in Orange Township.

The project will lead to the construction of a one-lane roundabout at the intersection, which sits about one-third of a mile east of the high school. Workers also will widen Lewis Center Road to add a center turn lane stretching from the roundabout to the school's entrance.

Riley said the narrow, two-lane North Road will be widened to standard lane width north of the intersection as part of the project.

The county's plans for the project also show the creation of a stub road at the south end of the roundabout that eventually could tie into Green Meadows Drive. Planned development projects southeast of Lewis Center Road's intersection with U.S. Route 23 could lead to the extension of Green Meadows Drive north from its terminus near Orangepoint Drive toward the roundabout.

The improvements are planned for the rapidly growing portion of Orange Township between Lewis Center and Shanahan roads, home to the new Evans Farm, North Farms and the Woods at Weeping Rock subdivisions. Evans Farm's first phase alone is expected to lead to the development of 142 houses, with 20 additional phases to follow.

"This is responding to an existing problem, but also trying to get out ahead of the (residential) growth," Riley said of the roadway improvements.

A stop sign for southbound drivers on North Road currently controls traffic at the intersection.

"(The project) is really driven by safety issues at North Road," Riley said. "There's some crash history at that intersection."

The improvements also should improve traffic flow to and from a new township park under construction just north of the intersection and east of the school.

The county estimates construction work on the improvements will cost about $3.2 million, with the tab for the entire project running closer to $3.8 million. According to county records, the county and Orange Township each will contribute funding toward the effort.

The county is engaged in ongoing efforts to secure needed rights of way and easements for the project. Riley said county officials hope to wrap up that process within the next several months.

Olentangy Local School District Superintendent Mark Raiff said a slice of land adjacent to the high school's entrance acquired by the county will go toward the project. The district's school board in January approved the sale of about 1 acre of property adjacent to Lewis Center Road to the county for $54,641.

After the county acquires the land needed to complete the project, workers will begin utility work and construction in the area. Riley said county officials hope workers will complete the improvements by fall 2019.