The Delaware County Engineer’s office is proposing construction of a $1.5 million single-lane roundabout to ease traffic congestion at the intersection of Liberty and Jewett roads.
An open house was held Monday night (Feb. 13) in Powell’s city building to get feedback from area residents.
Rob Riley, chief deputy engineer, said the intersection’s volume is “about 10,000 vehicles a day on Liberty Road and 4,500 on Jewett Road.”
According to county officials, 90 percent of the land has been purchased for the project. “We received $490,000 from the Ohio Public Works Commission for (the project),” Riley said.
Work on the project could start as early as August and last “three months, start to finish,” Riley said.
In a handout from the engineer’s office, it predicts that the the daily traffic will increase 60 percent by the year 2036 for the intersection.
Currently the intersection is a three-way stop which was to be a temporary solution to the problem, said Ryan Mraz, Delaware County chief deputy design engineer.
April Oney lives at the corner of Torrington Drive and Liberty just south of the intersection. She said to turn left onto Liberty from Torrington now is “pretty impossible.”
“If there is a break, somebody will let you out,” she said.
Oney said the three-way stop at Liberty and Jewett does offer a break in the traffic, but she thinks the roundabout would create a constant flow of traffic without offering the possible breaks.
She said the hours of 4 to 6 p.m. are the toughest times to turn onto Liberty.
“They’re just going to be accelerating and it’s going to be more impossible to get off of Torrington,” she said. “I think it will help the north and south traffic with their wait times because they will be continually going. But it’s definitely not going to help us on Torrington, because people aren’t going to be stopped to let us out.”
Oney said she is fine with the stop signs that are there now.
“I feel the stops signs are kind of working,” she said. “I’m not exactly sure of the best solution.”
Oney did have a chance to express her concerns to Mraz.
“It’s a long-term solution to the stop signs,” Mraz said.
Mraz told Oney that at first he wasn’t sure about roundabouts until he went on a to trip Carmel, Indiana. After a day of sitting and watching cars go through roundabouts, he was convinced they would work in Delaware County.
“We now have eight years under our belts with roundabouts. Roundabouts are safer than signaled stops,” Mraz said.
Art Siegesmund, chair of the Olentangy, Powell and Liberty Tails, attended the open house with Les Wibberley, Both men are avid cyclists who ride the trail on Liberty Road to Jewett Road “at least once a week,” Wibberley said.
The two were concerned with crossing four lanes of traffic of a roundabout with a constant flow of traffic to Jewett Road which doesn’t have a trail. The two ride Jewett to connect to the Olentangy Trails or to High Banks Park.
“I agree with the roundabout,” Wibberley said. He was unsure about the safety of it for cyclists.
Steve Bricker lives on a property that used to be a farm west of the proposed roundabout. As he studied the enlarged map he said, “I’ll believe them, it will flow better than it does now.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.