The final stretch of a long-awaited east-west connector in the City of Columbus is scheduled to begin construction this spring. The completed project will provide area motorists with a much needed direct east-west thoroughfare in northwest Franklin County.
“This new arterial will help relieve congestion on Hayden Run Road, which is a winding two-lane rural section of road within northwest Columbus and Hilliard,” said Mike.
The City of Columbus opened bids on March 2 for the last section of this connector, Hayden Run Boulevard Part 2. Mike and others including Jason Smallwood and David Vance first worked on this project in 2005.
Last summer, Franklin County Engineer’s Office began work on the next-to-last piece of the connector, which runs from the intersection of Riggins and Wilcox roads, where a new roundabout was constructed, to Avery Road. This project is scheduled for a June completion. Construction on Part 2 will begin shortly before then and will stretch from Avery Road to the existing Hayden Run Boulevard Part 1, which was completed in 2007. This final phase of the project is in last place for a reason: It required traversing over an active rail corridor and a petroleum pipeline.
“The project was complex from the start,” said Mike, “and involved several jurisdictions including the Cities of Columbus, Hilliard and Dublin, as well as Franklin County, CSX Railroad, and the Sunoco Petroleum Pipeline Company.”
One of the biggest snags was the CSX railroad tracks that had to be crossed in order to make this final connection, along with the Sunoco petroleum pipeline that runs parallel to the tracks.
“The debate was over or under,” said Mike.
After much study and deliberation, in 2008 the City of Columbus chose the “under” option. This option put the new roadway under the rail corridor, which required the design and construction of a new railroad bridge over the new roadway; however, rail service had to be maintained throughout the construction period, which required the design of a temporary bypass track.
After more fully evaluating the roadway underpass option, costs were found to be “prohibitive” due to the extent of required infrastructure. So, the City decided to re-open the study to look at the project again. In 2012, the City decided to go over the tracks and pipeline, which left the track in place and meant the design of a vehicular bridge over them.
With this decision made, Mike and his team were able to advance detailed design and move the project toward approvals and right-of-way acquisition, which was completed in 2016.
The design is a 4-lane divided roadway with a sidewalk on one side and a shared-use path on the other. In addition to the roadway design, EMH&T services included environmental work for a small wetland area, a sanitary sewer extension, stormwater treatment, and landscape design with street trees and decorative elements as required by the City of Columbus.
The project will used stamped concrete for the medians and for the ornamental treatments on the retaining walls between the path and roadway.
While the project did not require any public involvement, it still required quite a bit of patience.
“One of the biggest challenges was the waiting period,” said Mike, “but that was made easier by the consistency of EMH&T staff involved over the life of the project, accented by the input of new staff members who joined the firm during the project and contributed to the design over this time,” he added.
“Another thing that made the project easier was the great working relationship within the firm between the public and private sides of the business,” said Mike. “The fact that our Development Division was working on a number of private site improvements adjacent to this public project made it easy for us to keep track of changes that occurred in the area over time,” he said.
This final section of the project is anticipated for completion in spring of 2019.
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