Liberty Township: Traffic signal is new plan for Route 315 at Jewett Road

Revision saves historical barn, possibly other relics

Jim Fischer
ThisWeek
The Ohio Department of Transportation is proposing a traffic signal at state Route 315 and Jewett Road to improve traffic flow and reduce the number of crashes.

A new proposed plan to improve the intersection at state Route 315 and Jewett Road in Liberty Township would preserve some historical property that had been threatened by earlier designs.

The Ohio Department of Transportation unveiled the plan in a public meeting held virtually May 6.

The plan calls for a traffic signal and left-turn lane from northbound Route 315 at the intersection. A design shared last fall called for a roundabout that would have required the removal of a historical barn near the southwest corner of the intersection.

That barn and the property on which it sits were a rallying point for a number of local residents and area historical groups, suggesting ODOT do further investigation into the historical significance of the area.

“It would appear ODOT listened to the various opinions and information and revisited the project design,” Mark Rush, who lives on Route 315 just south of the intersection, told ThisWeek. “I’m pleased it didn’t fall on deaf ears.”

The May 6 meeting included presentations from ODOT archaeologist Bruce Aument and ODOT environmental specialist Susan Gasbarro. Both said additional research into the site revealed connections between the barn and the historical properties on both sides of state Route 315 that date to the 1800s, indicating “early settlement patterns and architectural design,” Gasbarro said.

Aument said findings on the property also indicate an “extensive pre-contact (Native American) lithic workshop (for making arrowheads) that dates to at least the mid-12th century – and probably earlier.”

“The roundabout (design) would have been too impactful on multiple cultural resources in the area,” ODOT District 6 project manager Eric Kletrovetz said.

Kletrovetz said the intersection remains a priority as a result of crash data that places the intersection in the top 25 of the department’s Highway Safety Improvement Program rankings, and on the state’s top 150 list of dangerous intersections.

“The purpose (of a redesign) is to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and injuries,” he said. “That over 80% of the accidents occur in dry conditions indicates the issue is capacity or design.”

The intersection reconstruction is expected to accompany the addition of turn lanes from state Route 315 onto Abbotsford Green Drive and Briarcliff Drive, both to the south of Jewett, as well as a road-stability project for state Route 315.

Kletrovetz said a three-way stop would have been insufficient for the intersection and would have provided no benefit to the identified traffic problems. He said the timing of the signal with the signal at Powell Road and state Route 315 – as well as the possibility of a trigger for traffic moving eastbound on Jewett Road – would be made in consultation with the Delaware County Engineer's Office and Liberty Township officials.

He also said the project likely would not result in any speed-limit changes along state Route 315.

The project timeline currently calls for construction to begin in late spring 2024, with completion later that year.

No current cost estimate is available.

“That intersection has been an enormous safety concern for the community. I am very thankful it is being addressed and that ODOT incorporated the feedback from residents and organizations,” Liberty Township trustee Shyra Eichhorn told ThisWeek. “Switching their focus from a roundabout to a light allowed the safety concerns to be addressed while limiting the size of the footprint and (maintaining) the opportunity to preserve the historic barn.”

Kletrovetz said it’s possible that ongoing archaeological research could affect ODOT’s ability to realize this design.

Public comment on this proposal will be accepted through June 6 and may be made by going to the project page at publicinput.com/Q237 or by emailing eric.kletrovetz@dot.ohio.gov.

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