Representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 3 returned to Galion last week to give an update on the Portland Way widening project. In addition, city officials provided an update on the local Hesby Drive project.
Mayor Tom O’Leary opened the July 24 meeting by recalling the last time ODOT was in town to talk about the project schedule, which was in May when the project started. He joked that none of the dates given at that time have held true.
Bob Weaver, ODOT District 3 construction administrator, then explained why the first phase of the project has taken so long. First, a delay in the relocation of utility poles along the roadway set back the start of the project by three or four weeks. Because they could not wait any longer to start construction, ODOT and Karvo Paving (the contractor) had to re-phase the project to get started in mid-May.
Compounding the problem, Weaver added that there was a lot of pipework that needed done in the beginning and ODOT has new specifications for conduit and catch basin work.
“Now, we’re finally at a point where we’re going to start making some headway,” Weaver concluded.
Brian Byers of Karvo Paving is the project manager. He reviewed where his company is currently at with the construction. On the south end of the project, the east lane was completed and traffic flipped the previous week to begin work on the west lane.
As of July 24, the schedule is to have the entire southern section completed on the week of Aug. 11. At that point the road will reopen for two way traffic.
The new date for the closure of the Portland Way Bridge is Aug. 18. The bridge will undergo a full replacement and will span three lanes.
During the 90-day closure, Karvo will also work on the road way to the north and south of the bridge. Temporary pavement has already been installed on Portland Way North so that two lanes of traffic can be maintained during this portion of the project. Drivers will use the temporary pavement until the project flips in early October.
To save time in the tight schedule, Karvo will install the base and intermediate layers of asphalt. All asphalt work needs to be done as soon as possible because of temperature constraints. This means driveway aprons and the sidewalks, which will line both sides of the road through the whole project area, will be done last (cement can be installed in cooler temperatures).
By mid-November, the entire northern section of the project, up to the Heise Park Lane intersection, is scheduled to be complete. Next spring, the final striping and surfacing will be put in place. Byers noted it is best to do the surface layer of the paving all at once, rather than in sections.
The meeting was attended by several residents and representatives of businesses in the project area, including: Duke & Duchess, First Merit Band, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. One attendee asked: “Will weather play a role in this next phase of the project?”
Weaver responded that weather always impacts construction projects, but some delays are factored into the schedule. Flooding, rather than rain itself, will be a factor in slowing down the construction of the bridge.
One audience member asked how access to Taylor’s Restaurant will be maintained, as the short section of road from the Portland Way/Harding Way intersection to the bridge will be closed, as Church Street will dead end at Portland Way during the construction. Adjacent businesses will still be accessible from Harding Way.
Weaver said access to the restaurant will be maintained, but they have not yet worked out the details.
Officials also reassured the audience that drive access to all of the businesses will be maintained at all times. However, the drives for the Galion West Shopping Center will likely be designated as entrance or exit only.
One business owner requested that signage be posted by the road closure signs advising that the businesses in that area are open and accessible during construction.
For more information or to report a problem, contact the ODOT District 3 office at 419- 281-0513.
Progress is also being made with the construction of Hesby Drive. The project is locally funded and separate from ODOT’s widening project. Underground Utilities is the company building the road, which will connect Bucyrus Road to the Galion City Schools campus. In addition, Heise Park Lane will be extended west to connect to the new road.
When complete, Hesby will serve as a detour route while the Portland Way bridge is closed, instead of sending traffic through Heise Park and the residential streets, as ODOT originally planned.
Project Manager Lyn Makeever explained the road has been proof rolled and the curbing is starting to be installed. They are trying to coordinate the project schedule with the widening project so that the road will be open by Aug. 18, but the timing for completion will be close.
Makeever also noted that access to the homes on Heise Park Lane will be maintained. However, when the curbing and drive approaches are being installed, there will need to be some coordination with those residents.
They have also made arrangements with the Tri County Med Center, located at the corner of Portland Way North and Heise Park Lane. The offices will be closed on Aug. 7 and 8 so that the pavement can be replaced up to the intersection.
The final announcement is that the city still intends to install a temporary drive connecting Heise Park Lane to the Galion West parking lot. It will better accommodate the delivery trucks who serve the stores there. City Council appropriated funds for the the drive, which will be taken out after the widening project is completed.