Pictured is a map outlining the upcoming second phase of the Route 31 widening project shown at Monday’s Marysville City Council work session, including the location of the future roundabout at the intersection of Northwoods Drive and Mill Road. Work for phase two will begin in 2020.
Marysville officials spoke to council at its work session Monday about what the next phase of the Route 31 widening project will cover, including Marysville’s first roundabout.
City Engineer Jeremy Hoyt said phase 2 is slated to last from spring of 2020 until the fall of the same year and will cost $4.16 million. The Ohio Department of Transportation has already awarded the city $1.77 million through its Small Cities grant. The city is also applying for $550,000 in funds from the Ohio Public Works Commission.
Like phase one of the project, the goal is to alleviate traffic in the area of Mill Road. Perhaps the biggest part of the project is the addition of a road extending Northwoods Drive to Route 31. Public Service Director Mike Andrako said the idea behind that road is to give residents a shorter alternative to get to Route 31.
That includes a mini-roundabout at the intersection of Northwoods Drive and Mill Road.
Andrako said the new roundabout is a way for residents to get used to the relatively new type of intersection.
“It’s not like the gargantuan roundabouts, it’s just to keep things moving,” Hoyt said.
Officials stressed that visibility won’t be an issue. According to Hoyt, putting a stop signs or traffic lights at that intersection would result in congestion, which would eventually make people avoid it altogether.
“You can see across it, you can see who’s there,” Andrako said. “It’s really a four way stop that’s modified.”
The roundabout is only one part of the larger phase two project.
“Right now (Mill Road is) becoming pretty busy, and all the people that live (in Mill Valley) are making it busy because the only way to get to (Route) 31 is to come north and go through Mill Road,” Andrako said. “This provides a shorter route.”
Hoyt said during the city’s studies, they found there is nothing that can be done between Route 31 and Cobblestone Way.
“We can’t widen it enough to ever make it an acceptable level of service, so we had to look for some sort of other option,” Hoyt said.
He joked that with Turkey Hill and McDonalds in the area, the city could make Mill Road eight lanes wide and there would still be problems.
Andrako added that widening Mill Road would result in the city taking out chunks of adjacent parking lots.
He also noted the area south of Turkey Hill and the Primrose School will continue developing. Extending Northwoods Drive would help ensure future businesses have enough capacity.
“You’re going to see commercial-type business go in here,” Andrako said. “This will provide them the capacity that they need so that they’re not making a bad situation worse.”
Andrako said after that extension happens and people begin taking advantage of it, traffic at Mill Road and Route 31 will become less congested.
The project will also alter the westbound off-ramp onto Route 31. The ramp currently has two options for motorists; cars can either go right at a fork, which funnels them straight onto Route 31 northbound, or they go left at the fork and come up to a stop sign, allowing them to turn into the southbound lane of Route 31.
Phase two of the project will bring the left-fork stop south so it’s in line with the U.S. 33 on-ramp. The city will also include a new traffic light there.
That will allow more cars to queue at that intersection without backing up motorists who want to continue north onto Route 31.
“When you make everybody use this ramp, then you’ll need a lot more (space),” Andrako said.
Hoyt also noted there will be two separate traffic lights for the northbound off-ramp and the new intersection at Northwoods Drive and Route 31. They will alternate so when one is red, the other is green.
“There won’t be any opposing traffic that you’ll have to dodge,” Hoyt said.
Council member Mark Reams said he thinks Paris Township should pitch in. He noted a portion of Mill Road east of Route 31, Glen Ellyn Drive, Echo Drive and Lombard Drive technically aren’t in the city.
“I would talk to the township about partnering with this improvement,” Reams said.
He said Marysville residents pay money to the township, which he said is largely being used outside the city.
“Here’s a project where they can benefit the township and the city,” he said.
City Manager Terry Emery said he wouldn’t be opposed to approaching the township to discuss the subject.
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