Road work to start

Managing Editor
Preliminary construction work is slated to start Monday on East Auglaize Street, a city administrator says, with work crews scheduled to start on the full-depth street reconstruction of the city roadway on March 25.
Wapakoneta Engineering Department Superintendent Mary Ruck released a detour map for motorists to follow as the $2.33 million project is divided into two phases.
“We have the project divided into two phases, with the first phase from the railroad tracks to Water Street and then from Water Street to Wood Street,” Ruck said, noting Water Street will be closed with the second phase of the project. “At some point in time during the summer, the entire street will be closed to traffic, but we are trying to maintain traffic on a portion of the roadway as long as possible.
“The entire street will be closed at one time because it will all be paved all at one time to avoid a seam in the road,” she said. “We are closing it down to thru traffic, just for everyone’s safety.”
The reconstruction project is funded primarily with a Small Cities grant providing approximately $1.34 million for the street reconstruction, which in
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cluded new water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer lines, reconstruction of the base and paving of the street, and an additional $560,000 from an Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Transportation Enhancement grant, which is to improve the streets cape.
The city is expected to pay approximately $500,000 toward the project including covering the cost of water line replacement.
The original estimate for the project was $2.6 million with the city paying approximately $800,000 toward the project.
Ruck said detours will be posted along the route with the majority of motorists directed to take North, East Mechanic and East Pearl streets to avoid the construction area.
“We are going to put up some extra signs because fortunately along East Auglaize Street we have alley access behind all the residential properties and all the businesses,” Ruck said. “We are trying our best for the businesses, especially a business like Swaney’s where they rely on eye appeal and people looking at the cars while going down East Auglaize Street.”
During this week’s Streets, Alleys and Sidewalks Committee meeting, Wapakoneta City Council members discussed switching the Water Street and East Auglaize Street intersection to a four-way stop instead of using a traffic light.
Mayor Rodney Metz and committee members — Councilors-at-large Dan Graf and Tom Finkelmeier Jr. and 1st Ward Councilor Jim Neumeier — decided to install conduit and electric lines for a traffic light if the 4-way stop is not effective.
The issue is to be discussed further in the coming months.
City administrators and Ruck seek motorist patience this summer until the project is completed. It has a Nov. 1 deadline.
“We realize it is an inconvenience and will interrupt people’s patterns of travel and we realize it is a busy street, but that is one of the reasons we are doing this project,” Ruck said. “This street really needs it. We seek their understanding and patience and we believe everyone will be impressed and appreciate it when the work is done.”