By Rick Palsgrove
The Ohio Public Works Commission has awarded funding to reconfigure the intersection of Winchester Pike/Brice Road/Bixby Road to improve traffic flow and safety.
The OPWC will fund $2.1 million of the estimated $5.7 million project. According to Ted Beidler, projects engineer for Franklin County, $3 million of the project will be funded with federal money through the County Engineers of Ohio. The remaining funding will come from the Franklin County Engineer’s staff costs.
Currently Brice and Bixby roads connect to Winchester Pike at an angle. The improvement will square off the intersection and include a traffic light. Where Bixby Road now connects to Winchester Pike will become a cul-de-sac.
Beidler said the goal is to maintain traffic on Winchester Pike while the intersection project is being completed. He said the project is scheduled to begin in 2015 and should take less than a year to complete.
Beidler said the project will help alleviate a “moderate accident problem” at the intersection and help the flow of traffic on highly traveled Winchester Pike.
Last fall, Franklin County Traffic Engineer Mike Meeks said officials considered installing a roundabout traffic circle at the intersection, but decided against it because the speed limit on Winchester Pike is 55 mph.
“We would have had to twist the road to accommodate a roundabout at that speed and that would’ve used up a lot of ground and intruded on the nearby wetlands area to the southwest,” said Meeks. “The proposed plan adapts better to the landscape and won’t harm the wetlands.”
Beidler said that, just down the road to the west, the heavily traveled intersection of Winchester Pike/Shannon Road/Ebright Road is scheduled for an estimated $4 million in improvements in 2017, which would include the installation of turn lanes, widening the nearby bridge over Blacklick Creek and a traffic light.
“More people are interested in this project, so we’re hoping, if possible, to move it up a year to 2016,” said Beidler.
Until that project is undertaken, Beidler said Franklin County is studying whether or not a temporary traffic light could be installed at the intersection of Winchester Pike/Shannon Road/Ebright Road in 2014. He said, as part of this possible temporary measure, the engineers must find a way to squeeze in a turn lane on Winchester Pike at the intersection. Beidler said county officials should know sometime soon if a temporary traffic light can possibly be put in place at the intersection this year.
For information on the projects, visit www.franklincountyengineer.org.