FAIRFIELD, Ohio — The Michael Lane/Camelot Drive intersection at Ohio 4 will be safer next year, but construction won’t start until the spring.
The estimated $1.3 million project will realign the intersection on the north end of Jungle Jim’s will also make it a quicker experience for motorists as it will remove at least one phase of the traffic signal.
City Council approved a contract with Barret Paving to improve the intersection that’s seen nearly four dozen accidents from 2014 to 2016 because of unprotected left-hand turns, and motorists not recognizing when to yield. Nearly half of those accidents resulted in injuries, according to police.
Public Works Director Ben Mann said that’s a high number of injuries, and most were rear-end accidents.
“The intersection has been identified by the city as an intersection in need of realignment in order to eliminate the existing offset condition of the side streets,” said Mann, adding the city wants to protect left turns on Ohio 4 and improve the traffic signal coordination at the intersection and with other signals on the state route.
Motorists on Ohio 4 turning left cannot go at the same time with dedicated arrows, which are seen at many intersections around Fairfield. Simultaneous left-turns at the Michael Lane/Camelot Drive intersection would “be encouraging (motorists) to occupy the same space,” Mann said.
For safety reasons, the skewed configuration of the intersection has required the city to have an extra phase in the signal, which Mann said “slows down Route 4.”
Nearly 45,000 vehicles a day pass through this intersection. There are dozens of businesses near the intersection, including Jungle Jim’s International Market and Planet Fitness.
Barrett Paving was the lowest of the three bidders but was nearly $130,000 over the engineer’s estimate. Funding won’t be requested for allocation by City Council, however, until the new fiscal year, which starts in January.
Though funding hasn’t been approved, Fairfield is still preparing for the project as right-of-way has been acquired and utilities are set to be relocated. Construction is anticipated to begin this coming spring.
The finished improvement won’t provide a perfect 90 degrees at all four corners, but Michael Lane and Camelot Drive will be directly across from each other, and potential for accidents should be removed, Mann said.
Since Ohio 4 is part of the National Highway System, Fairfield required permission from the Ohio Department of Transportation to perform engineering and construction administration on this project as it progresses.
Fairfield staff is working with ODOT through the Local Public Agency process, which ODOT allows entities like the city to administer work with Federal Highway grant money.
Staff is requesting Council allocate funds from multiple city sources, including the Water Replacement Funds, Community Development Block Grant funding, and Street Fund. Most of the funds will come from ODOT Highway Safety Improvement Program funding.
ODOT has reimbursed Fairfield for $448,760 for the engineering and right-of-way phases of the project.