Officials provide update on SR-598 widening project


By Andrew Carter - acarter@aimmediamidwest.com



GALION — Officials from the City of Galion and other parties involved in the State Route 598 (Portland Way North) widening project participated in a public meeting this week to update the community.

Rietschlin Construction, Inc. of Crestline is the general contractor for the $4.238 million project. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) contributed approximately $2.75 million to fund the project, according to ODOT District 3 Capital Programs Administrator Matthew Walter.

Project Manager Joshua Slaga from GPD Group provided an overview of the project for those in attendance on Monday at the Grace Point Church Christian Life Center. Widening of the 1.16-mile stretch of roadway from Carter Drive to Brandt Road is slated to begin this fall and is projected to be completed in October 2022, according to Slaga. The roadway will be widened from 24 feet to 36 feet and include a center turn lane.

“We’ve been working with the city for several years putting this project together,” Slaga said. “One of the main driving factors behind this was safety concerns along the (State Route 598) corridor. We worked with the city to put together, at that time, it was called a safety stud, which was really the first step in obtaining funding to help the city put together this project and really build a creative funding package to make this large project affordable for everybody in this community. We started back in 2019 with the planning development process of taking a two-lane road and making it three lanes with a center turn lane.”

Slaga said once construction starts, it will have an impact on traffic in the area and that aspect of the project has been a major topic of discussion and planning.

“One of the main topics we’ve had at every meeting with city administration is how do we minimize construction for everybody traveling Portland Way,” Slaga said. “We realize this a key road for access from U.S. 30 to get into the city. You have the grocery stores, businesses, the homes — it’s one of the highest, if not the highest traveled road in the city.”

Slaga said Mayor Tom O’Leary was adamant about maintaining two-way traffic through the construction zone in order to keep traffic flow as close to normal as possible. In an attempt to accomplish that, Slaga said temporary pavement will be installed in the construction zone to accommodate two-way traffic. Some night work will also be conducted occasionally to help speed the project.

O’Leary said no additional sidewalks are included in the project. Sidewalks currently in place in the vicinity of Carter Drive adjacent to Arby’s, the Drug Mart plaza, and the apartments across the street will remain in place, he said.

Margaret Rietschlin, president and CFO of Rietschlin Construction, said the company is still waiting for materials to arrive before they can begin work on the State Route 598 project. Like many other contractors, Rietschlin Construction has experienced delivery issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As soon as the necessary materials arrive, work will begin on installing the temporary pavement and putting in storm sewer crossings. Widening of the roadway will begin in the spring of 2022.

Crystal Neelon, public information officer for ODOT District 3, said once the project is underway, her office will provide updates and information about any changes that could affect local motorists. ODOT District 3 already provides regular updates on construction projects in Crawford County and other counties within District 3, she said.

Neelon said residents can get information about construction projects and sign up to receive email updates at the website www.transportation.ohio.gov.

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By Andrew Carter

acarter@aimmediamidwest.com

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