County looks at Old 3C upgrades; Old 3C and Mount Royal Roundabout – 3 legs or 4?

By LENNY C. LEPOLA News Assistant Managing Editor

November 20, 2013

The Genoa Township section of Old 3C Highway that runs from Freeman Road to Mt. Royal Avenue and Maxtown Road from Ohio 3 to Tussic Street, are modern peculiarities. The Old 3C roadway is lined along both sides with residential stock and also contains entrances to Fouse Elementary School and Genoa Middle School. Because of its residential nature, when driving along Old 3C it’s easy to imagine the roadway as a township road, but it’s not; Old 3C belongs to Delaware County.

One would think that Maxtown Road from Ohio 3 to Tussic Street and beyond, a roadway that receives much more traffic and has no residential curb cuts, would be a county maintained roadway – but it’s not. East of Northgate Plaza, Maxtown Road (a.k.a. Township Highway 32) is owned and maintained by Genoa Township.

County funds can be used to upgrade the lesser-used Old 3C residential roadway; township funds are needed to upgrade the heavily traveled Maxtown Road, a primary corridor. Adding to the peculiarity, because Old 3C is a county road the speed limit is 45 miles per hour – much too fast for a residential neighborhood; and Maxtown Road, with no residential curb cuts, is held at 35 mph.

It might be peculiar, but it’s also the reason that Old 3C is being considered for an upgrade using Delaware County Engineer’s Office funds with a possible contribution from the Ohio Public Works Commission; and Maxtown Road will continue funneling four lanes down to two lanes and experiencing traffic backups as motorists turn left into nearby subdivisions.

Rob Riley, Deputy Engineer with the Delaware County Engineer’s Office, attended last Wednesday evening’s Genoa Township Board of Trustees meeting with an alternative option for the Old 3C upgrade slated for 2016 or 2017.

The existing plan shows a widened Old 3C with curb and gutter drainage improvements and a three-legged, single lane roundabout. Old 3C would curve east through the existing retention pond north of Mount Royal; the roundabout legs would lead to Mount Royal traveling east, Mount Royal going west and Old 3C to the north.

Riley’s alternative would add a fourth leg to the roundabout connecting a rerouted Frost Road with the new traffic flow. Frost Road would be rerouted trough the retention pond south of Mount Royal.

Riley said the engineer’s office looked at redesigning Old 3C all the way to Big Walnut Road, but decided that the most pressing issue was traffic flow at the Old 3C Mount Royal intersection.

Several Frost Road area business owners questioned the need for a roundabout at the intersection, or the need for a Frost road roundabout leg. Bill Byrd recommended making the south end of Old 3C terminate in a cul-de-sac.

“We looked at signaling the intersection, but that doesn’t work from a traffic standpoint,” Riley said. “And a cul-de-sac sending all residential traffic north to Freeman Road to access 3C Highway would be a pretty dramatic traffic shift. There’s room for four cars now from 3C to Old 3C. With the roundabout that would make room for eight cars.”

Asked why the design shows a single lane roundabout, Riley said a double lane roundabout would not work at that location.

“Even though a double lane roundabout doesn’t work here, these roundabouts are designed for trucks,” Riley said. “There will be a 10- to 12-foot wide truck apron, similar to the roundabout at Harlem Road and Smothers Road.”

Harlem Division of Fire Chief Gary Honeycutt said he had no concerns about fire engines and other safety service vehicles getting through the roundabout and on to any one of its four legs.

Riley, who called the Old 3C Upgrade a safety project, said adding the roundabout’s fourth leg would cost $400,000 because of the retention pond redesign.

“We’re looking for commitment and funding for the additional cost of the fourth roundabout leg to Frost Road,” Riley said. “We’d like some direction from the board whether you want this or not - either a three-legged or four-legged roundabout.

Trustee Barb Lewis said she preferred to get more feedback from the Frost Road area business owners before a decision is made.

“If we’re going to be putting money into this, we want to make sure our business community is happy with the project,” Lewis said.

Riley said the county would prefer feedback one way or the other in one month to six weeks.

“The earlier the better,” Riley said. “We’re spending time and resources on this.”

As a side note, Riley did admit that Maxtown Road east of 3C Highway should be a Delaware County roadway.

“Over 12,000 cars a day use this section of Maxtown Road,” Riley said.

Widening and improving Maxtown would cost $3.3 million with a $1.25 million Genoa Township contribution because of the township’s ownership of the roadway, Riley said; the City of Westerville, Delaware County and an Ohio Public Works Commission grant and loan would fund the remainder of the project.