WESTERVILLE — Genoa Township has issued a plea to motorists who use the busy intersection of Lewis Center and Worthington roads.
“Genoa Drivers, we need your help,” the township posted Sunday on Facebook. “There is a high-crash intersection at Worthington and Lewis Center roads. Our Trustees have appealed to Delaware County Engineer to resolve the situation and they are working as quickly as possible, but major intersection improvements are not quick projects. Until a roundabout or other solution can be implemented, we need each of you to stop at the stop sign on Worthington Road. Lewis Center traffic does not stop. For those traveling on either road, be vigilant. Tell your young drivers, tell your neighbors, tell your friends.”
The stop signs on Worthington Road by the intersection have an additional yellow sign beneath that says, “CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP.”
According to Delaware County’s latest Road Construction Guide, improving the intersection will be a project for 2022 between the county and the Ohio Department of Transportation. The $2 million project consists of installing a new single-lane modern roundabout. It will require full closure for up to two months, with a posted detour.
The Delaware County Engineer’s website said of the intersection, “This project is a revisit of the same project that was studied in 2014-2015. As a result of the public meeting held in 2015 and the comments and feedback received from that meeting, this office decided to delay and revisit the need and design of our plans at that time. After continued growth and traffic increase within this area, planning again became necessary to begin design of future improvements at this location.
“A safety study conducted in 2020 reveled that as growth in the area continues as expected, a level of service of F is expected by the year 2033 if nothing is improved,” the site continued. “A modern roundabout or peanut version roundabout would be the likely preferred alternative increasing traffic flow, reducing crashes and limiting the overall right of way impact to the adjacent properties.”
The average traffic through the intersection is nearly 8,000 vehicles a day.
Genoa’s Facebook page said residents, along with township trustees, requested a temporary four-way stop at the intersection in a letter dated Oct. 12.
“Please know that we have considered installing a 4-way stop as a short-term measure until the roundabout project that is currently under development is complete, but we have major concerns with doing this,” wrote Chief Deputy Engineer Robert Riley. “The biggest problem we foresee is motorists failing to comply with this new 4-way stop, either intentionally or accidentally. The primary concern is with eastbound vehicles passing Rome Corners Road.”
The proximity of Rome Corners and the visibility of the Lewis Center/Worthington Road, along with the change of traffic pattern, would cause many motorists to run the stop sign, the reply went on to say. This would likely cause more accidents, as well as backups at the four-way stop. With bad weather and a vehicle traveling on Lewis Center Road at 45 mph, “there would be essentially no room for error or slow reaction time” to stop.
“While it is understandable to want to do something – anything, to try to make it safer, it is our opinion that the 4-way stop isn’t a safer alternative,” Riley concluded. “We are currently working as quickly as possible to advance the roundabout project. We are scheduled to begin purchasing the needed right of way over the winter and will be working to relocate affected utilities beginning next summer. We hope to be able to begin construction sometime later in 2022 on the road work, with completion by summer 2023.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.