Weather-related delays are now expected to push the Refugee Road widening project into the 2020 calendar.

When the estimated $14 million reconstruction and widening of Refugee from state Route 256 to Fuller's Way began, city officials put Dec. 30 as the tentative completion date.

Now officials believe the work could extend into the second half of 2020.

"It's going to be in 2020 some time," said Ed Drobina, Pickerington service director. "I don't know if it will be spring or summer."

The primary culprit behind the construction extension has been weather the past seven months, and specifically, rain.

"This weather has really messed up any schedule we had," Drobina said.

Despite the prolonged timeline, the work being done remains the same as planned since last October.

It is part of a strategy city officials have been eyeing for many years, as they sought to improve traffic flow along the two-lane roadway that, according to city officials, averages more than 16,000 vehicles daily.

In October, as the project was starting, Pickeriongton City Manager Frank Wiseman said, "Refugee Road has become a major thoroughfare into the Pickerington area."

He said to better accommodate "the historic and future increase in traffic" the plan was to widen Refugee Road west of state Route 256 to Fuller's Way from two lanes to five.

The "comprehensive makeover" of Refugee from state Route 256 to Fuller's Way calls for:

* Additional lanes on Refugee from the east corporation limit (which is a short distance east of Route 256) to the Refugee-Fuller's Way intersection.

* An additional center-turn lane/median from the Refugee-Fuller's Way intersection to the west corporation limit near Wheatfield Drive.

* Curb and gutter installation to improve drainage.

* Pickerington's "first modern roundabout" at Refugee-Fuller's Way.

* A new bike path on the north side of Refugee Road to provide access from Route 256 to the Blacklick Creek Greenway Trail.

* A new sidewalk on the south side of Refugee Road.

* Resurfacing of Refugee Road as well as median installations throughout the corridor.

"It is going to be a five-lane road from Route 256 to Fuller's Way," Wiseman said.

"At Fuller's Way, there's going to be a roundabout, and then it goes down to a three-lane highway from Fuller's Way to the Columbus border."

The project got off the ground last fall after the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission became involved, designating Refugee improvements as a regional project. The agencies agreed to chip in approximately $9 million, combined, to make them a reality.

The city currently is expected to contribute approximately $5 million, although it's unclear if construction delays will increase project costs.

"Will not know the total cost of project until the project is complete," Drobina said.

To date, Drobina said, the only work that's been completed has been the relocation of a waterline, the removal of a sanitary pump station and a culvert replacement.

He said "temporary pavement" has been laid so traffic could be maintained while construction begins on the south side of Refugee.

"Once that gets completed, they will shift all traffic to the south side of Refugee and they will get started on the construction of the north side of Refugee," he said.

"Right now, they're scheduled to shift all traffic by the middle of June.

"The way the weather has been, that call could change, but traffic still will be flowing

When the project finally reaches its completion, it will be an upgrade, Drobina assured.

He said the widening would "allow traffic to flow easier going east to west on Refugee Road."

"It's just going to allow more traffic to flow more easily," he said.

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