By JOY BROWN
Did you hear about the guy who drove from one side of Findlay to the other today on Sandusky Street?
Of course you didn’t, because it can’t be done, at least not at the moment, thanks to all of the ongoing improvement projects.
Nowhere else in Findlay are more road repairs happening right now than on Sandusky Street, which serves as one of the city’s primary east/west arteries.
“I’m just not coming to work tomorrow,” quipped one frustrated driver on Wednesday.
On Thursday, four projects closed either one lane or the whole street.
Nearby construction projects, which the city said it didn’t know about that far in advance, have “magnified” congestion, said Nathan Hoy, an engineer for the city. He was referring to railroad crossing improvement work, and Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s preliminary infrastructure work for its downtown campus expansion.
“The administration has been relaying motorist complaints to Norfolk Southern Railroad up to a month ago” regarding the condition of railroad crossings at Sandusky Street and Western Avenue, which resulted in the intersection’s closure this week, Hoy said.
“I did not hear of the planned (railroad) closures until we received a call approximately three weeks ago from the railroad,” Hoy said. The mass complaints from the city and its residents prompted the railroad “to expedite their Findlay railroad crossing repairs,” he said.
When coordinating other Sandusky Street work, “we couldn’t have predicted the Marathon (Petroleum Corp.) road closure (at Beech Avenue) and the railroad tracks would have happened over these past couple of weeks,” Hoy said.
“This has obviously been inconvenient to motorists coming downtown, but I don’t know how it could have been avoided as the paving was ready to go when the asphalt plants opened for the season,” Hoy said.
So what kind of work is happening, who’s paying for it, and when will all of the projects finally end? Here are the latest details, starting from the east side of Findlay and moving west:
East Sandusky paving
The Ohio Department of Transportation and the city began preparation work several weeks ago to repave East Sandusky Street from the eastern city limits to Beech Avenue. City workers first had to replace the curbs, a step that the state requires for all of its paving projects.
Existing asphalt has been milled, and paving was expected to begin this week. It was supposed to start Wednesday but rain delayed it.
Repaving from Bright Road to Blanchard Street is expected to conclude by next Friday, May 30, “weather permitting,” said Hoy.
For the repaving and associated work, the state is funding 80 percent, or about $500,000, and the city 20 percent, or $147,600. Findlay’s curb work, which it pays for, cost $150,000.
Adding to the construction mix at one point was a storm sewer tie-in project, just west of Blanchard Street, to accommodate Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s expansion. Work on that was completed May 16.
The resurfacing project has resulted in lane reductions, and some full street closures, particularly during Marathon’s storm sewer work.
“During asphalt paving there may need to be short-term road closures,” Hoy said.
Shelly Co., the state’s contractor, has been asked to wait to pave from Blanchard Street to Beech Avenue to coordinate that work with the city’s plans for intersection improvements at Blanchard Street, Hoy said.
That project could happen this year, too, although it’s not a certainty. City officials want to improve the intersection at Blanchard Street to better accommodate traffic. The improvements could include widening and adding left turn lanes on Blanchard Street, but details haven’t been finalized, Hoy said.
This week, Norfolk Southern closed the intersection at West Sandusky and Western Avenue for crossing replacement on Sandusky Street and Western Avenue, which had become notoriously bumpy places for motorists.
On Wednesday, Hoy said company representatives told him the intersection will be reopened, weather permitting, on Friday, May 30.
West Sandusky paving
As is the case on East Sandusky Street, the city and state are collaborating to repave West Sandusky Street, from Western to Glessner avenues.
City workers began removing curbs on Tuesday, and curb replacement will continue through next week, Hoy said. Asphalt milling and paving “will happen the first part of June” and be completed sometime during the second week of June, Hoy said.
“We anticipate closing West Sandusky for a half-day to through traffic during paving in early June,” Hoy said.
The state is paying about $130,000 and the city $35,000 for this repaving portion, which the city Engineering Department is managing.
In the meantime, the city is offering a few suggestions for bypassing Sandusky Street.
“Through next week, we’d encourage motorists heading downtown from the west to use West Main Cross Street,” Hoy said. “Pending Shelly’s paving schedule on East Sandusky, east of Blanchard Street, we’d encourage motorists to use Tiffin Avenue or East Main Cross to get to Blanchard Street.”
Send an E-mail to Joy Brown
- The Docket
- Member Service