A roundabout will be built at the intersection of Bale Kenyon and Lewis Center roads next year, it was announced at a Delaware County Commission meeting on Monday.
Commissioners approved accepting right of way from the Army Corps of Engineers as part of the improvements to the intersection.
“This is right below the (Alum Creek) dam,” said county Chief Deputy Engineer Rob Riley. “We’re hoping to get started late this year, but don’t anticipate the road work happening until next year.”
There will be road closures for 120 days while the roundabout is built in phases. There will also be drainage, grading, lighting and widening upgrades.
In addition, the deck of the Lewis Center Road bridge over Alum Creek is in “poor condition due to normal deterioration over its 40-plus year lifespan, and it is in need of replacement to continue to function adequately,” said the county engineer’s project information web page.
Currently during the evening rush hours, there is often a wait to make a left turn onto Bale Kenyon from Lewis Center Road. The intersection is “currently operating at a poor level of service in peak travel hours,” states the project information. “Projected traffic growth in the area is expected to increase delays and potentially increase crashes due to lack of acceptable gaps in traffic to allow turns.”
A traffic signal with turn lanes was considered, but the roundabout was selected.
“It was determined that the modern roundabout will operate more efficiently than the traffic signal alternative, with the added benefits of being cheaper to build and safer based on the crash rate of modern roundabouts versus traditional intersections,” states the project information page.
“This project is being done in conjunction with a project Orange Township is doing to update Bale Kenyon Road from the Orange Road roundabout all the way up to Lewis Center Road,” Riley said. “That will include a shared use path on one side of the road.”
Pedestrians will be able to cross the new roundabout, he said.
“Ultimately, Orange Township is doing a second project to build a pedestrian bridge over Alum Creek to get those folks over to the playground area just below the dam,” Riley said.
The project totals $2 million, with up to 80 percent of the construction funded through a County Surface Transportation Program grant through the County Engineers Association of Ohio and the Ohio Department of Transportation.
“This is part of a nice pedestrian project, as well as upgrading traffic flow,” Riley said.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.