Traffic engineers are considering four ways to reconfigure the intersection of Scioto Darby and Walcutt roads on the southeast edge of Hilliard.
Letty Schamp, Hilliard's deputy city engineer, said city leaders hope to have a decision made and begin a design early next year, but it is possible a new alternative could be explored by city engineers and representatives from American Structurepoint, the engineering and infrastructure firm conducting a study for the project.
The city accepted public feedback through Oct. 31 concerning four alternatives that were presented Oct. 15 during a public meeting at the Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
"These comments will be reviewed and studied for any general theme or consensus (concerning one of the four proposals)," Schamp said.
The proposals include:
* A roundabout at the current alignment of Scioto Darby and Walcutt roads, with a traffic signal at Scioto Darby and Leap roads, a four-way stop at the entrance of the Darby Glen subdivision several hundred feet east of the proposed roundabout.
* A roundabout at a relocated alignment of Scioto Darby and Walcutt roads, with a traffic signal at Scioto Darby and Leap roads.
* A roundabout at a relocated alignment of Scioto Darby and Walcutt roads, with a traffic signal at a relocated alignment of Scioto Darby and Leap roads.
* A roundabout at the current alignment of Scioto Darby and Walcutt roads, with a roundabout at a relocated alignment of Scioto Darby and Leap roads.
Each proposal has pros and cons to consider, according to Schamp, but several key factors, including property impact, cost and "constructability," are being examined. Construct-ability refers to whether a proposed construction would cause a closure or detour for long periods of time that would too greatly inconvenience the public, she said.
Together, these considerations could be enough to cause engineers to turn away from a proposal even if public comments indicate it is the preferred alternative, Schamp said.
Part of the intersection at Scioto Darby and Walcutt roads is in Columbus and the four-way stop at Scioto Darby and Leap roads is entirely in Columbus, she said.
"Each alternative has a different level of involvement between Hilliard and Columbus jurisdictional boundaries, and we are working closely with Columbus," Schamp said. "We are at the very early concept stage, evaluating pros and cons of the various alternatives and getting public feedback. After we receive and evaluate the public comment, we will sit down with Columbus to determine the next steps."
Schamp said improvements at Scioto Darby and Walcutt roads must be completed first. Those at Scioto Darby and Leap roads may occur at the same time but are not required, she said. Last year, Hilliard appropriated $168,000 to American Structurepoint to begin the corridor study and another $240,000 was appropriated this year to continue the study, Schamp said.
Bob Stepp, a resident who attended the Oct. 15 presentation, said he and others suggested use of the open field on the southeast side of Scioto Darby and Walcutt roads – not among the four proposals being considered – and criticized the city's lack of foresight.
"This particular traffic issue should never have reached this point," he said. "Lack of future-thinking is a disappointing trend with the leaders of Hilliard."