Planned cable barrier on state Route 161 designed to eliminate crossover crashes

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
The Ohio Department of Transportation is paying $900,000 to install a cable barrier, similar to the one pictured here, along the center of state Route 161 in the busy New Albany corridor between Hamilton Road and the Licking County line near Beech Road. ODOT spokeswoman Brook Ebersole said that from 2014-18, 15 crossover crashes were recorded on that stretch of roadway, and another four occurred in the median, including one that resulted in a fatality.

In an effort to improve safety along one of New Albany’s busiest corridors, the Ohio Department of Transportation is paying for the installation of a cable barrier in the center of state Route 161.

The barricade will be placed in the median strip near Hamilton Road and 1 mile shy of Beech Road. It will cross two jurisdictions: 2 miles in Columbus and 2.5 miles in New Albany.

The barrier will separate fast-moving eastbound and westbound traffic along the corridor, said Mike Barker, deputy public-services director for New Albany.

The stretch of roadway runs primarily through commercial areas and some residential neighborhoods, Barker said.

State Route 161 has three interchanges in the area – New Albany Road East, which is in city of Columbus just west of New Albany, U.S. Route 62 and Beech Road, Barker said.

New Albany City Council on Jan. 19 formally entered into an agreement with ODOT, essentially allowing the construction of the barrier in New Albany. The city agreed to pay for its maintenance.

The city already plows snow, salts and mows the roadside grass, Barker said.

Brooke Ebersole, a spokeswoman for ODOT, said the barrier will cost $900,000. Construction will start in July and is expected to be completed by the end of the summer, she said.

Ebersole said that from 2014-18, 15 crossover crashes were recorded on that stretch of roadway, and another four occurred in the median, including one that resulted in a fatality.

The cable barrier is more suitable to the area than concrete, she said.

“You typically will not will see us put a concrete wall in a grassy median,” Ebersole said. “It’s hard to maintain. And we will not typically put a concrete wall in a median that is wider than 40 feet. This is 60 feet.

“A cable barrier is a little more cost effective when you’re talking about a large median in length, not width.”

Ebersole said the barrier will continue east to the Licking County line, just west of Beech Road.

She said the median at that point goes from 60 feet wide to 80, which significantly reduces the rate of crossover crashes.

Barker said that because the construction will be done in the median strip, the impact on traffic should be minimal.

“Structurally, the cable barrier itself is very robust,” Barker said. “It’s made of high-tension steel cable, and it’s designed to withstand the types of vehicles that travel on state Route 161, including trucks and passenger cars.”

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary