By Dedra Cordle
The Borror Road reconstruction project is a step closer to finalization.
At its July 24 meeting, the Jackson Township board of trustees gave authorization for acting administrator Lynn Bruno to sign the township’s portion of the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) cooperative agreement.
The authorization, said Bruno, will allow the OPWC to release funding for the estimated $6.2 million reconstruction project that will include road widening, street lighting, water line repairs and a multi-use path for pedestrian and bicycle connectivity to Scioto Grove Metro Park.
Upon signing the agreement, it will be sent to collaborative partners, the city of Grove City and Franklin County, for authorization of their portion of the project.
A similar cooperative agreement was sent to the board for approval last month but trustees needed clarification as to which entity would pay a greater share should the cost of the project exceed estimates. Per the revised cooperative agreement from July 24, the township will not have to exceed their local match contribution.
Trustee David Burris called the clarification favorable for the township.
“The county and city have deeper pockets than us,” he said.
In a related matter, the township was given a project update regarding stage one plans for the Borror Road reconstruction project at the July 10 meeting. According to EMH&T engineer Mike Keller, nearly two miles of roadway from Quail Creek Boulevard to State Route 104 is slated for reconstruction, the width of the roadway will be roughly 25 feet, and the eastern portion will not have streetlights per residential desire to “maintain the rural feel.”
Additionally, he said the stage one plans still call for a single-land roundabout at the intersection of Borror Road and Buckeye Parkway, which has been a point of disagreement between the city and township.
The city, said Keller, believes that a single-lane roundabout will improve traffic flow, as well as increase safety conditions for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. He cited statistics from the United States Department of Transportation which show roundabouts have a 90 percent reduction in traffic fatalities, a 76 percent reduction in injury crashes, a 30 to 40 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes and 75 percent fewer conflict points than four-way intersections.
The township trustees, however, have long stated they felt that roundabouts do not improve safety and have called for the installation of traffic lights at the intersection. Their view did not change at the July 10 meeting.
“I will forever respectfully disagree on the safety issues (regarding roundabouts),” said trustee Stephen Bowshier.
He cited personal experience navigating roundabouts as one reason for his disapproval.
“I have been in nearly four accidents at the roundabout (on Orders Road) and three of them were my fault,” he said. “Now, I don’t consider myself to be a bad driver but I just did not see the traffic coming from the left.”
Burris expressed a similar sentiment, stating he does not believe it improves safety for pedestrians or bicyclists either.
He said he was particularly concerned with their safety regarding the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Borror Road and Buckeye Parkway.
“I just don’t see how kids can get safely cross the road with that amount of traffic,” he said.
Keller said the configuration of the roundabout does make it safer for pedestrians as it calls for more awareness of the traffic patterns.
“They’re crossing one lane at a time,” he said, “and that makes them more alert and attentive.”
The debate regarding the roundabout will likely continue as the project progresses. Keller said the next step (in addition to the release of OPWC funding) calls for land acquisition, public meetings and plan revisions. The reconstruction project is slated to begin March 2019.