By Rick Palsgrove
Upgrades will continue to be made to busy Winchester Pike to ease traffic flow.
At a public meeting Sept. 4 at the Groveport Recreation Center, representatives from the Franklin County Engineer’s Office announced plans to further improve the intersection of Winchester Pike and Ebright/Shannon roads. County officials stated approximately 30,000 vehicles per day pass through the intersection.
According to Ted Beidler, projects engineer for the Franklin County Engineer, left turn lanes will be added to Ebright and Shannon roads at the intersection and the left turn lanes on Winchester Pike will be lengthened. Also, the bridge over Blacklick Creek will be widened to accommodate the wider left turn lanes on Winchester Pike.
“This project will finish the safety improvements at the intersection,” said James Villacres of MS Consultants, an engineering, architect and planning firm. “There’s a lot of congestion and accidents there. These improvements will provide a safer intersection for the volume of traffic.”
Villacres said no environmental harm to Blacklick Creek is expected to occur during the bridge widening.
“There will be no significant impact or change to the creek,” said Villacres.
Beidler said the work is currently scheduled to be done during the summer of 2017, but the project could be moved up to the summer of 2016 if the funding can be worked out sooner.
Approximately $2 million in federal funds from the County Engineer Association will be used for the project, according to Beidler. Additionally, he said the county will apply for $1 million in Ohio Public Works Commission monies for the project.
Beidler said the Blacklick Trail bike path that passes under the Winchester Pike bridge will be temporarily re-routed during the project.
“When work is being done on the bridge, we’ll have to close off the bike path under the bridge,” said Beidler. “In its place will be a temporary asphalt bypass bike path extending from the existing path before it reaches the bridge. The temporary bike path will be on the west side of Ebright and Shannon roads and cross Winchester Pike at the traffic light.”
The traffic light at the intersection was installed earlier this year.
The upgrades are part of a larger plan to improve traffic flow on Winchester Pike that included installing a traffic light at Watkins Road last spring.
Winchester Pike, Brice/Bixby roads
Also planned is reconfiguring the intersection of Winchester Pike and Bixby/Brice roads. The OPWC will fund $2.1 million of this estimated $5.7 million project. According to Beidler, $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. The project is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2015 and should take less than a year to complete.
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.
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.
Franklin County Traffic Engineer Mike Meeks previously said officials considered installing a roundabout 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.”
For information on the projects, visit www.franklincountyengineer.org.