Reconstruct review: East Benton St. set for total replacement

Fewer than a dozen people stopped by the Wapakoneta City Administration Building Tuesday to review engineer’s drawings for another phase of the East Benton Street reconstruction project.

The 2012 reconstruction project, which includes replacing water, sanitary and storm water sewer lines as well as lateral lines, is a full-depth reconstruction of the street from Water Street to the CSX railroad tracks. The natural gas company is to replace the main line and laterals, too.

“The project looks well laid out and that is a result of survey crews working the street last year,” Councilor-at-large Dan Graf said after Tuesday’s open house meeting. “Engineering Department personnel have actually walked both sides of the street and talked to many of the residents along the project as they were developing the scope of the project.

“I think they have done a nice job so when the actual work begins they have some flexibility to change things, especially the laterals,” the Streets, Alleys and Sidewalks Committee chair said. “I believe this enables them to be willing to work with the residents throughout the entire project.”

A couple of the residents who attended the open house inquired about the possible replacement of their sidewalks. Graf said they were glad to learn that since they put in new sidewalks in the past couple of years that they likely would not have to replace the concrete again.

Eliminating the replacement of sidewalks should reduce the total cost of the project.

Engineering Department Superintendent Mary Ruck said the engineer’s estimate for the project is $900,000, with $330,485 coming from a state Issue 1 capital improvement grant.

She anticipates a contract being awarded in February and for work to start in mid-March with the project completed by late July or early August. During the project, traffic will be detoured to East Pearl Street.

She also expects the project cost to decrease with bids coming in lower than expected and the cost of the project will decrease more because some of the infrastructure will not have to be replaced, such as sidewalks and some utility lines.

Ruck provided a general overview of the project.

“We are going  to upgrade the water line from a 6-inch line to a 12-inch line, put in a new storm sewer along with new water and sanitary laterals and the sanitary line will be replaced as needed,” Ruck told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “All the manholes will be replaced and we will be installing new curbs and gutters, new pavement, new light fixtures, new striping, new catch basins and new alley approaches and new sidewalks and driveway approaches if needed.”

This phase of the East Benton Street reconstruction will mirror the work completed in Phase I, which was street reconstruction from Water Street to Wood Street.

Michael Heintz, of Heintz Engineering of Urbana, engineered and provided the drawing for this phase of the project.

Ruck explained residents will not see any assessments on their taxes until 2014 and they will have seven years to pay them off. They also can pay for the assessments in full prior to them being placed on their property tax.

“The width of the street will change by 2 feet with the 2 feet coming from the tree lawn, but the tree lawn is 6 to 8 feet along this stretch so the sidewalk will not move,” Ruck said. “Residents and motorists will notice the street being lower but that is because we are taking it all the way back down as we reconstruct it. We will stabilize the base just as we did with the first phase.”

Graf said residents will notice the difference.

“It will make the street a little wider and people will be able to park on both sides of the street — some people have complained that their sideview mirror was hit and this should help take care of that,” Graf said. “The whole appearance will be the same as it looks on the first phase of the East Benton Street project. When the trees are planted and they start reaching some height this will make it feel more residential and homey and make the area very nice looking, a very nice entrance to the city.”