Improvements slated for Alum Creek Drive

A busy intersection in the Southeast Columbus area is ready for a facelift.

The city of Columbus, Franklin County, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) are partnering on a traffic study focusing on the intersection of Groveport Road at Alum Creek Drive; and the Alum Creek Drive and I-270 interchange.

The study, which is the result of the Rickenbacker Road Infrastructure Working Group, will examine several aspects of the intersections.

According to Nancy Burton, public information officer with ODOT, the work group was made up of representatives from Columbus, Franklin County, ODOT and MORPC, as well as Pickaway County, and the villages of Obetz and Groveport.

The goal of the project is to make the major roadways leading to and from Rickenbacker Airport as efficient as possible.

"Roughly 38,000 vehicles use those intersections daily," said Burton.

One item to be studied is traffic volume, both present and projected.

"It’s hard to tell if we’ll look ahead five or 20 years," Burton added.

The study will also look at present and future capacities for the roadway.

Although it has yet to be determined when the traffic study will begin, it is hoped that the groups will receive the findings within one year of the start date.

Once that data has been processed, the groups will formulate a plan of action.

According to Burton, improvements to the area could be minor or major, depending on the study findings.

"It could be into the multi-millions," she said.

The same work group is focusing a study on Pickaway County.

"The study would look at the possibility of adding an east-west connector from Rickenbacker to Pickaway County," said Burton.

All four municipalities and state offices involved in the study will provide a portion of the funding, although it has not yet been determined what amount each will provide.

Obetz steps up to the challenge

In the mean time, Obetz is looking to make improvements to help unclog the intersection of Groveport Road and Alum Creek Drive until bigger improvements can be tackled by ODOT.

According to Obetz Village Administrator and Economic Development Director Douglas Browell, the village of Obetz recently received approval for a $3.3 million ODOT grant to make some improvements to the Groveport Road/Alum Creek Drive intersection. Obetz’s matching funds as part of the grant will be between $330,000 and $350,000.

"It’s a very busy intersection," said Browell.

The proposed improvements include widening the roadways, installing additional turn lanes in all directions, and creating longer "stacking" lanes in the turn lanes. Construction is projected to begin on the project in fiscal year 2010.

"It’s an improvement that won’t solve all of the problems at the intersection," cautioned Browell. "The big fix is a long range project. The bigger issue is to improve the interchange."

That long range project includes ODOT plans to improve the interchange at I-270 and Alum Creek Drive.

Southeast Editor Rick Palsgrove contributed to this story.

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