The intersection of progress and history can be as difficult to navigate as one of the increasingly busy traffic intersections in Delaware County.
Concord Township resident Larry Dulin and the Delaware County Engineer's Office are trying to do both but appear headed in different directions.
Dulin has lived at the corner of Home and Dublin roads for 39 years, in a structure he said his family built about 200 years ago. In his front yard are three large cottonwood trees that Dulin said were planted by a family member about 150 years ago.
Those trees -- and some other flora and landscape features on Dulin's property -- stand to be lost, the result of construction of a roundabout at the intersection.
Delaware County announced its intent to build the roundabout in August 2017. Dulin said he was aware of the plans, but was caught unawares when he received a letter from a Dublin-based company regarding the acquisition of right-of-way for the roundabout project earlier this year.
"I would lose pretty much all of the trees in my yard on both Home Road and (state Route) 745 (Dublin Road)," Dulin said. "There are two vacant corners at this intersection, and I'm the only private citizen they're taking land from."
Ryan Mraz, chief deputy design engineer for the county, acknowledged the trees would be lost during the project and said he has heard from Dulin in response.
"Currently, the trees at the pavement are in the existing right of way. The majority, I think, stand to be impacted," Mraz said.
Dulin said he hopes to find another solution that won't result in the trees being taken down. Concord Township owns the land on the southwest corner, and the city of Columbus owns the land on the southeast. Dulin said he would like to see the project redesigned in a way that reroutes the intersection through those larger pieces of currently vacant land.
He also is rallying community support. A sign in his yard urges passing motorists to call the Delaware County Engineer's Office, and he's created a Facebook page titled "Save the Rathbone Trees." (Rathbone is the colloquial and historic name of the unincorporated area at the intersection.)
"I've had so many sleepless nights thinking about this," Dulin said.
Chelsea Kirchberg and Josh Mabry, owners of the Wild Oak Market at the intersection's northeast corner, also would like to see the current design revisited. While their structure would not be directly impacted by construction, the project will necessitate new entrances to the store's parking lot, they said.
"We make most of our money during the summer, which will be during the construction process, and we don't expect much traffic to come down here to a closed intersection," Kirchberg said.
"We'd hope maybe they could do a stoplight or turn lanes," Mabry said. "We're not against improving traffic flow."
Mraz said the engineer's office is investigating a redesign of the roundabout.
"No matter what we do, it will impact (the trees), but we are looking to see if we can lessen it," he said.
According to the Delaware County Engineer's website, the right-of-way acquisition portion of the project is ongoing. Construction is planned for 2021-22.
Mraz said road and intersection improvements are part of a continuing effort to ease traffic congestion throughout the county.
"We are constantly doing traffic counts. With the growth in the southern part of the county, plus its access to a growing part of Union County, Home Road is a heavily traveled route," Mraz said. "A signal or turn lanes would impact the properties there. There is going to be some impact no matter what."
"It's not like we like cutting down trees," Mraz said.