Construction is expected to be completed Nov. 2 on a project to widen Thoburn Road in Norwich Township and make it safer, according to township officials.
"We have worked many years on achieving this improvement and are excited it is happening," township administrator Jamie Fisher said.
The improvement project comes at little cost to Norwich Township, according to Fisher.
Fifty percent of the $348,155 project is funded by a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission and 45 percent is paid for by Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, she said. That agreement was reached last year.
Norwich Township and the Franklin County Engineer's Office will be responsible for the remaining 5 percent of the cost, which would be about $17,400.
Norwich Township spent several years negotiating with the city of Columbus and Ohio State University to finance the improvement of Thoburn Road, which provides the sole access the Griggs Reservoir Boathouse, 3033 Thoburn Road, on the west bank of the Scioto River. It also provides access to the McKnight Outdoor Education Center, formerly known as Indian Village Outdoor Education Center, and Duranceau Park.
Traffic on Thoburn Road significantly increased, according to township officials and the four families on Thoburn Road, after the boathouse – which is a $3 million lodge built by Columbus and Ohio State – opened in 2011.
"The road was in bad shape," Fisher said, because of the hundreds of vehicles that used it.
Strawser Paving is the contractor performing the job under the management of the Franklin County Engineer's Office.
The project entails widening 900 feet of Thoburn Road from Dublin Road east to a branch in the road, where separate driveways begin toward the boathouse and the outdoor education center, both of which are in Columbus, Fisher said.
The road is being widened from 14 to 22 feet and repaved, she said. Curbs will be built on the north side of Thoburn Road where all four residences are located, and speed bumps will be added, Fisher said.
Township officials asked for the curbs as a safety measure, she said.
Fisher said one of the residents had installed bollards in front of his yard that were in the township's right of way and potentially could have damaged township equipment, such as snow plows.
"So we asked for curbs to be placed as an additional safety feature for the residents," she said. "It will be a safer roadway safer for residents and those visiting the parks."
Curbs were expected to be poured Oct. 15 and paving was scheduled to begin Oct. 17, weather permitting, Fisher said.
Erin McLaughlin, a Thoburn Road resident, said though her family would have preferred the boathouse not have been built there, the township made the best decision possible.
"This was the only solution," McLaughlin said.
She said despite the frequent traffic, the wider road and curbs would make it safer for residents and those using the road.
"There are an astronomical number of cars up and down this road," McLaughlin said. "The issue was the volume of traffic and that problem trumped what we would have preferred. It was an unsafe road and this project will help make it safer."