Public Meeting – March 22, 2023
The County Engineer will be hosting a public information meeting at the Genoa Township Hall on March 22, 2023 from 4pm to 6pm to present the preferred project alternative for upgrades to the intersections at Big Walnut Road, Tussic Street and Old 3C Highway. County Engineer’s staff will be there to answer questions and provide information about the project. The meeting will be in open house format. There is no scheduled presentation and you are free to come and go as your schedule allows.
The project’s purpose is to upgrade the intersections of Big Walnut Road at Old 3C Highway, and Big Walnut Road at Tussic Street to improve safety for vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian users. The project is also intended to ensure continued efficiency and reliability for motorists at the intersections.
Safety: From 2016 to 2020, there were a total of 17 reported crashes at these 2 intersections, most involving angle collisions. One crash involved a bicycle.
Pedestrian Facilities: There is an existing crosswalk located at the South Old 3C intersection; however, there are no pedestrian or bicycle facilities at the Tussic Street intersection or between the 2 intersections.
Efficiency and Reliability: Traffic volumes have increased steadily over the last 10 years (except for COVID-related drop in 2020). Peak-hour delay is notable, though has not reached a critical level yet. Continued development and population growth to the west, north and east is expected to increase both the severity of delays and extend measurable delays into more hours of the day.
Traffic engineers used a grading system based on average delay known as Level of Service or LOS, with grades from A (little or no delay) to F (significant delays). The 4-way stop at Old 3C is estimated to operate at LOS C or D in peak travel hours with average with overall delay of 15-35 seconds. Off-peak hours have little delay.
The Tussic Street intersection has estimated LOS C to E on the Tussic Street approaches with average delays of 15-50 seconds in the peak hour (no delay on Big Walnut Road). Off-peak hours have little delay.
Delaware County has contracted with American Structurepoint, a regional engineering firm with offices in Ohio and surrounding states, to study the existing intersections and develop preliminary plans for upgrades.
Structurepoint evaluated alternatives including signalized intersections and roundabouts at both the Big Walnut/Tussic and Big Walnut/Old 3C intersections. The project will also include a 10-foot asphalt path from South Old 3C Highway east to Tussic Street (south side of Big Walnut Road), as well as an extension of the concrete sidewalk along Tussic Street south to Totten Springs Drive.
Some of the pros and cons of each alternative are summarized below:
Traffic Signals with Turn Lanes:
Big Walnut and South Old 3C Highway:
- Pros: Less impact on the open yard areas on the northeast and southwest corners of the intersection.
- Cons: Significant impact on the northwest and southeast corner properties including the Genoa Lawn Care Center and Genoa Township Hall due to widening needed for turning radius expansion. Higher predicted severe crash frequency in the future. Higher delay during off-peak travel hours. Expensive traffic signal maintenance.
Big Walnut and Tussic Street:
- Pros: Less impact on the northeast and northwest corner properties.
- Cons: Significant impact to the Grace Chapel Community Church property due to widening needed for turning radius expansion. Significant impact to the old township hall property requiring relocation of building. Higher predicted severe crash frequency in the future. Higher delay during off-peak travel hours. Expensive traffic signal maintenance.
Big Walnut and South Old 3C Highway:
- Pros: Lower predicted severe crash frequency (i.e. safer). Improved traffic flow during all hours of day. Little to no impact to northwest and southeast corner properties including the Genoa Lawn Care Center and Genoa Township Hall.
- Cons: More impact to open yard areas of the northeast and southwest corners of the intersection. Street light maintenance cost.
Big Walnut and Tussic Street:
- Pros: Lower predicted severe crash frequency (i.e. safer). Improved traffic flow during all hours of day. Little to no impact to southwest and southeast corners.
- Cons: More impact to open yard areas of the northwest and northeast corner properties. Significant impact to the old township hall property requiring relocation of building. Street light maintenance cost.
Traffic Control During Construction
Both the traffic signal and roundabout alternatives would require road closures to widen and reconstruct the pavement and would be done in phases.
The first phase of the project would include the Tussic Street intersection which is closer to the drainage outlet (to the east). Construction would involve a closure of the north and south legs of Tussic Street followed by a closure of the entire intersection for up to 2 weeks for the traffic signal alternative and up to 4 weeks for the roundabout alternative.
For the South Old 3C Intersection, a phased closure would be more difficult or impossible with the roundabout alternative, and it would likely require a full closure for about 2 months.
After we received feedback on the preferred project alternative, we will make any necessary modifications to the plans, and then work directly with any impacted property owners to purchase the needed right of way for the project. After right of way has been purchased, utilities will relocate their poles, cables and pipelines to make room for the road work. Finally, a contract will be bid out for construction of the project.
Engineering: late 2020 to early 2023
Property Purchase: 2023-24
Utility relocation: 2023-24
Q. Why are you doing this project?
A. We have identified a crash problem with these 2 intersections, as well as a lack of any pedestrian infrastructure to get users from South Old 3C to Tussic Street Road safely. Also, projected growth in the area also indicates more significant travel delays during peak hours will become a problem in the coming years, so traffic flow upgrades will be needed in the near future.
Q. Traffic doesn’t seem that bad right now. What’s the hurry?
A. Traffic delay at these two intersection ISN’T that bad… at least not yet. The reality is that Genoa Township is a very desirable community and new residents are moving to the area every day. New development in areas to the north off Old 3C and Tussic is expected to increase both the severity of delays, as well as extend these delays into more hours of the day. Projects like these take years to develop and we are doing what we can to stay ahead of the growth. Once we decide on what should be done here, it will take several years to finalize plans, relocate utilities and purchase any additional land that is needed. Any planned upgrades wouldn’t be under construction until at least 2024 or later.
Q. Won’t an upgrade of the intersections just draw more traffic?
A. In a word, no. Intersection safety upgrades generally have no effect on the generation of trips in the area, or the routes people choose to drive. In this case, neither intersection is currently over capacity, meaning even if the traffic flow at each intersection is improved with a traffic signal, turn lanes or a roundabout, there is no “pent up traffic demand” that wants to use the roads that isn’t already doing so. It’s far more likely that the same amount of traffic that has always driven these roads will continue to use these roads, but would be able to get through these intersections more efficiently and more safely after the project is done.
Q. Does this project have anything to do with the residential development on Tussic Street north of Big Walnut?
A. No. This project is needed with or without the proposed Ravines at Hoover Subdivision.
Q. Does this project have anything to do with the proposed Big Walnut Interchange?
A. No. This project is needed with or without the proposed Big Walnut Interchange.
Q. Can’t you just put up 4-way stop signs at Tussic Street?
A. We have ruled out the idea of a 4-way stop at Tussic Street and Big Walnut. First, we do like 4-way stops at certain locations because they can be a very safe, very cost-efficient way of handling intersections. With that said, they don’t work everywhere. When 4-way stops are installed at locations which people don’t expect, they can actually create more severe crashes. The reality is that people do run stop signs, either intentionally or unintentionally, whenever they are placed somewhere that motorists don’t expect them or don’t think they should be.
Big Walnut Road is a main east-west thoroughfare and we would expect relatively poor compliance with new east-west stop signs. Even if 99.99% of drivers comply, that still means 1 out of every 10,000 drivers may not comply. This segment of Big Walnut Road carries over 6,600 vehicles every day including heavy trucks, and Tussic Street carries nearly 3,000 per day which creates a significant potential of crashes.
The South Old 3C intersection is already a 4-way stop, and there are already crashes that occur at that intersection even with the 4-way stop that has been in place for many years. The reported crashes over the last 5 years have involved angle collisions or have involved bicyclists, which is a major safety concern.
Q. I don’t like the idea of eminent domain. How do you handle property acquisition?
A. First, eminent domain or appropriation of property is never the first option for any public agency. We would always prefer to work with you come to an agreement on how we can balance the needs of the public for a safe and efficient road, and your rights as a property owner. Ohio law provides numerous protections for property owners when it comes to public road projects and every owner is entitled due process with respect to acquisition of property.
If the county determines that any part of your property may be needed for a road project, the county must obtain a fair market value estimate or appraisal of that land and offer that amount to you. The county has absolutely no interest in shortchanging property owners of what they are due. We don’t get a bonus or a pat on the back if we can get your land cheaper than it’s worth. We live in this community too and also are property owners. You as a property owner aren’t required to accept our offer. You can counter offer, or can ask us to change our plans. If we are unable to change the plans, and still can’t agree to a value of the property, you are entitled to go through a process called appropriation where a court may require mediation in an attempt to settle a disagreement. If we’re still unable to agree, you may also elect to have a jury determine the price of the land that’s needed.
We welcome public input including questions or comments about this project. Please address your comments or questions to the project manager:
Ryan Mraz, Deputy Design Engineer (firstname.lastname@example.org)