The results of a post-construction summary of the Murphy Parkway Extension Project are in, and everything points toward it being a success.
“First and foremost, the good news is things seem to be working fairly well, and some of our results did show that,” Doug Bender, a senior traffic engineer with EMH&T — the Columbus-based firm hired to conduct the traffic study following the completion of the roadway extension project in September 2016 — told Powell City Council on Tuesday.
Funded through a 1.8-mill bond levy renewal approved by voters in November 2012, the $2.1 million project set out to improve traffic flow along Olentangy and Liberty streets by extending the Murphy Parkway downtown bypass from its previous dead-end terminus south of Presidential Parkway to its present-day connection at South Liberty Street.
In a news release issued by the city prior to the opening of the extension last year, City Manager Steve Lutz stated, “Traffic has dramatically increased over the years, and we know our community is frustrated. The Murphy Parkway extension is a great step towards improving congestion along our main arteries in Powell.”
The results of the post-construction study that centered around Murphy Parkway and surrounding streets, Bender said, show traffic volumes have adjusted as expected, speeds are similar, and the level of service remains stable.
“In general, I think we are seeing that traffic is kind of adjusting to the network and folks are choosing the most efficient and most comfortable way to get through the network,” he said.
As for traffic volume levels, the study shows the number of vehicles traveling on Salisbury Drive has decreased and migrated to three other city streets: Presidential Parkway, Donerail Avenue, and Grey Oaks Drive.
According to peak p.m. weekday two-way volume data presented to council, traffic volume, as Bender said was expected, dwindled on Salisbury Drive from 402 vehicles in a 2014 study to 293 vehicles in the 2017 study. Traffic volume during the same time frame, however, increased on Presidential Parkways (52 to 109 vehicles), Donerail Avenue (18 to 25), and Grey Oaks Drive (94 to 135).
“What we are seeing is some of that cut-through traffic that was on Salisbury is kind of working its way through the street network the way we hoped it would,” Bender said. “It has migrated to those other three streets kind of where it should be, so that’s a good thing.”
Using average weekday speed data collected in 2014 and 2017, since the new portion of Murphy Parkway opened, speeds have slightly decreased in both directions along Presidential Parkway, Grey Oaks Drive, and Murphy Parkway between Grey Oaks Drive and Donerail Avenue, Bender said.
Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @KeeranGazette.