Road closing soon: East Benton Street work set to start May 7

Motorists using East Benton Street through these first few weeks of construction will no longer be permitted down the street starting May 7 when paving contractors move in.

Workers with Celina-based Shinn Brothers start work that Monday and the street will be closed until the $779,680 full-depth street reconstruction project is complete. The project is scheduled to be done by Sept. 30.

“The road from Willipie Street to Water Street will be shut down and the all the intersections will be shut down so they (motorists) will have go to Pearl Street or Mechanic Street, but Pearl Street is the official detour,” Wapakoneta Engineering Superintendent Mary Ruck said, noting Dominon Gas crews have been replacing natural gas lines to date. “All the residents who live on that section of the street will be able to get in and out fine, but if they don’t live on the street we would stress that they don’t use the street.”

She also advised people who typically use Park and Maple streets and Gibbs Avenue to avoid the railroad crossing on Willipie Street will have to use U.S. 33 or wait at the railroad crossing on Willipie Street if there is a train and should not use side streets to avoid the train as they travel to East Benton Street.

Ruck also stressed motorists must realize the road closed signs are to protect them and their property as well as the workers and the machinery.

“When they are working and they are in their machines and equipment, they are not looking for vehicles in their path or behind them when the road is closed,” Ruck said. “They are trying to work and they will swing their bucket around to get work done and while the other workers are aware of these safety zones around the equipment, motorists are not always as cautious and we have the potential for a hazard.

“We had a couple of close calls on Bellefontaine Street because people did not adhere to the signage,” she said.

She and city workers realizes people can become frustrated, but the signage is for the safety of all.

Ruck said city workers will assist people in an emergency or who may need items such as oxygen.

The project, estimated at nearly $1 million, came in below engineer’s estimates at $779,680, with the city being awarded a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission earlier this month for $330,028. City funds and residents will pay approximately $450,000.

The East Benton Street reconstruction project includes improving and replacing water, sanitary and stormwater lines as well as replacing sidewalks, curbs and gutters, driveways and alley approaches as sell as a new asphalt surface and street lighting from Water Street to the CSX railroad tracks.

In previous year, the city has already improved and reconstructed East Benton Street from Bellefontaine Street to Water Street.