ODOT announces improvements to intersections – Two roundabouts proposed for Malta, McConnelsville

A project is planned that will improve safety and congestion at two Morgan County intersections.

The Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 is partnering with the Morgan County Commissioners, the Morgan County Engineer, the Morgan County Improve­ment Corporation, and the Villages of McConnelsville and Malta on the project.

As part of the project, new roundabouts would be constructed at either end of the “new bridge” connecting Malta and McConnelsville. One roundabout would be at the intersection of SR 37, SR 78 and SR 669 and North Main Street, in Malta, while the other would be located at the intersection of SR 78, SR 60 and SR 37 in McConnelsville.

Also, as part of the project, repairs will be made on the bridge and the sidewalk on the bridge will be widened.

“The commissioners are grateful to ODOT for working so diligently on this project, and to both Villages for working together to make their communities safer,” said Morgan County Commissioner Adam Shriver.

“The safety and well-being of all residents of our communities is our top priority and these changes will help to keep our communities safe and improve our bridge for motorists as well as the walking public,” said McCon­nelsville Mayor John Finley.

The project is being completed ahead of the closure of the “Old Bridge,” which also connects Malta and McCon­nelsville. A 2010 study revealed safety concerns with that bridge and the cost of repairing it exceeds $5.6 million.

“Most people who have spoken to me agree that it is too cost­ly for Morgan County to repair or re­place,” said Morgan County Engineer Stevan Hook. “Once the additional traffic prob­lems are solved for the State Route 37-78-669-60 Bridge and intersections, the ‘Old Bridge’ will be closed and converted to a ped­estrian crossing with some modifications.”

“The proposed roundabouts will help the flow of traffic through the village, as the bridge at the south end of town will be closing to vehicle traffic in the next few years,” said Malta Mayor Greg Hill. “Turn lanes will be improved for trucks and trailers coming into the village and will promote safety.”

“Given the eventual closure of the old bridge to vehicular traffic, congestion and delays are more likely to occur at the new bridge with traffic lights,” added Carl Raines, Executive Director of the Morgan County Improvement Corporation. “Round­abouts can become an appealing entrance to both McConnelsville and Malta.”

Steve Williams, Deputy Director of ODOT District 10, says public involvement is an important part of this project.

“ODOT will hold public meetings at a later date to educate the public on the proposals and to look at preferred alternatives,” he said.

The estimated cost of the project is $3.2 million, and the projected start date is spring of 2018. ODOT is currently working with the local partners to secure funding for the project.