GALION — Planning for the installation of a turn lane at the Brandt Road/Ohio 598 intersection is moving forward.
Galion City Council’s Streets, Alleys, Trees, and Bridges Committee expressed support for the proposal when its members met on Feb. 11.
Mayor Tom O’Leary told the committee that the proposed left-hand turn lane, which would be located on northbound Ohio 598 at Brandt Road, was not included in the original widening plan for Ohio 598. However, due to the potential development of a spec building at that intersection, the need for a turn lane there has come to the forefront.
The preliminary cost estimate for the turn lane project is $326,325, according to information provided by GPD Group, the engineering firm contracted for the Ohio 598 widening project.
“In the last several weeks, the developer there, JBS (Development), has begun the process of (demolishing) the old (Peco II/GE Energy) power equipment building with the intent of building a (spec) building and working to attract industrial or warehousing (opportunities),” O’Leary told the committee. “With that change of use there, I wanted to at least introduce the idea of the need for a left-hand turn lane. Let’s say there’s a 50,000-square foot building and 75 to 100 additional employees and their trucks, I think the idea of considering this and beginning to search for funds to pay for it, keeps us out ahead of a traffic jam.
“I’d hate to see us build the new widened road, sort of help north-south traffic, and then trade that off for congestion, if you will, on that part of Brandt Road,” O’Leary added. “I wanted to introduce the idea, see what your initial thinking is, and if we think it’s a good project to undertake, I think there’s a way to begin the process of funding it. … But if we’re going to do it, we really need to start the planning from the design point of view and decide how we’re going to pay for it.”
In July of 2020, JBS Development received $2.5 million from the Ohio Development Services Agency in the form of a Rural Industrial Park Loan to fund the construction of a spec building at the Brandt Road/Ohio 598 site.
Committee Chairman Ken Bodkins said while he supports the idea of installing a turn lane at the location, he would rather see it conducted as part of the overall Ohio 598 widening project instead of seeing traffic delays caused by multiple construction efforts.
Committee members Mark Triplett and Kara Ault both expressed support for the project.
“With the possibility of having new business there, I think we should go ahead and start trying to find the money,” Triplett said. “Why wait?”
Ault noted that the topic of a turn lane at Brandt Road and Ohio 598 is something that local residents have talked about and needs to be addressed.
“I think that that’s something that needs to be done and that’s something that people comment and ask Tom (O’Leary) about during (the mayor’s Facebook Live sessions on Mondays),” Ault said. “People really seem to want a turn lane there.”
O’Leary said the next step is to work with the engineering firm to design the project while at the same time pursuing funding options.
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