By Rick Palsgrove
The city of Groveport will apply for Ohio Public Works Commission grant funding to help pay for two road projects in the city.
One project is the $1.7 million West Bixby Road Phase II reconstruction project and the other is the $861,000 South Hamilton Road (State Route 317) / Higgins Boulevard intersection improvement.
Groveport City Engineer Steve Farst said how the total costs will break down by OPWC grant, loan, and local matching fund amounts has not yet been determined. He said city officials should know by December if the OPWC funding requests are approved.
West Bixby Road reconstruction
Phase I of this project was completed in 2017 and extended from Groveport Road to the Madison Christian School entrance. Phase II extends 3,500 linear feet from the entrance to Madison Christian School to the entrance of Three Creeks Metro Park.
“This section of Bixby Road is in pretty bad shape. The condition of the pavement is the principle problem,” said Farst at a public meeting about the project on Aug. 15. “It handles about 3,000 vehicles a day and, with future growth in the area, it’s expected traffic will increase to 4,500 vehicles a day.”
Farst said the project will consist of rebuilding the pavement base, putting in a new road surface, and adding an 8-foot wide paved bicycle/leisure path on the south side of the road. The bicycle/leisure path will connect with an existing similar path that extends east from Bixby Ridge Drive East to the Madison Christian entrance. The new bicycle/leisure path extension will connect to the entrance of Three Creeks Metro Park.
“The bicycle/leisure path feature will allow area residents to connect to the entire Columbus bikeway system at Three Creeks,” said Farst.
Farst said design and survey work on Phase II of the West Bixby Road reconstruction project will begin in the fall of 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2021 with completion expected by the fall of 2021.
South Hamilton Road/Higgins
Boulevard intersection improvement
“I believe South Hamilton Road is the most heavily traveled road in the city of Groveport,” said Farst, who added 12,600 vehicles a day use the road and that number is expected to increase to 14,000 within 20 years.
Phase I of this project is the reconstruction of Higgins Boulevard. Phase II of the project includes modernizing the traffic signal, improving and realigning the northbound and southbound left turn lanes, and adding a pedestrian crosswalk.
“Higgins Boulevard is in terrible shape,” said Farst. “The intersection traffic signal is antiquated and past its useful life. It’s probably the original signal that was installed in the 1970s. The left turn lanes in both directions are of an older design and need to be realigned for safety reasons. Also, the existing southbound left turn lane is way too short and needs lengthened.”
Farst said the crosswalk and new traffic signals will be like what was put in at South Hamilton Road and Firehouse Lane by Groveport Madison High School.
According to Farst, the Phase I reconstruction of Higgins Boulevard will be funded by a developer who is developing property on the east side of South Hamilton Road. He said the developer is also committed to reimbursing the city for the amount of the OPWC loan if it is received.
The Pizzuti Companies plan to build two warehouses on 44.4 acres at 4500 S. Hamilton Road. One warehouse will be 324,000 square feet and the other will be 252,000 square feet. Traffic going in and out of the development will use the traffic signal at South Hamilton Road (State Route 317) and Higgins Boulevard.
Farst said the Higgins Boulevard reconstruction is expected to begin this fall or winter, depending on the timing of the opening the first warehouse on the site.
Design and survey work on the Phase II intersection improvements of this project is already underway. Farst said construction is expected to begin at the earliest by August 2020 with anticipated earliest completion by May 2021.