Street delayed

Barring any further delays, the reconstructed section of East Benton Street should be open to traffic by the end of October, a city official says.

On Wednesday, Wapakoneta Engineering Department Superintendent Mary Ruck updated Wapakoneta City Council Streets, Alleys and Sidewalks Committee members regarding on-going street and sidewalk projects this year. She discussed the final phases of the East Benton Street reconstruction project, the status of the Safe Routes to Schools sidewalk program and work on a bicycle route.

“The East Benton Street project is moving along at a steady pace, at a pace that will ensure we get a quality project,” Councilor-at-large Dan Graf said after chairing his committee meeting. “The project will be done as soon as the weather allows to get it done.”

The $780,000 East Benton Street reconstruction project replaced water, sanitary sewer and stormwater sewer lines, as well as natural gas lines. The project included widening the street and new sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

Graf said crews are pouring stone for the streets base and compaction tests are set for this Friday. Crews also are working on placing concrete for sidewalks and driveway and alley approaches.

Graf and Ruck explained delays occurred in earlier in the project when crews were trying to locate existing infrastructure to make sure lateral sanitary sewer and water lines were connected. Ruck said the existing infrastructure did not match the recorded drawings, which caused problems, but those drawings have been updated and are now current.

Barring any further delays, Graf estimated paving would be conducted the first two weeks of October, followed by a reclamite coating and striping of the street. Weather permitting the project should be completed by the end of October.

The project was supposed to be completed by the end of September.

Ruck provided an update on the $434,000 Safe Routes to Schools sidewalk program which called for sidewalk construction within the Bramblewood Estates subdivision and along Redskin Trail.

“The Safe Routes to Schools project is moving along pretty well,” Ruck told committee members. “They are about one-third of the way done. They should be starting on Redskin Trail in another week. I have already seen a lot of kids walking and riding bikes on the new sidewalk on Murray Street.”

She noted the sidewalk is 5-feet wide as opposed to the city’s 4-feet wide requirement. She also said the project is going directly through the Ohio Department of Transportation and not through the local Engineering Department.

Ruck also addressed complaints about the sidewalk being installed on the north side of Redskin Trail near Wapakoneta High School and not on the south side.

“First of all, we can link to an existing sidewalk on the north side, but this is not to say we won’t have a sidewalk on the south side as well,” Ruck said. “We wanted to complete that link first.

“If you look at the south side, there is a pretty good sized ditch there, that elevation wise, would require a lot of time and work, and I am not saying it can’t be done, but it will cost quite a bit of money,” she said.

She said obstacles for constructing the sidewalk on the south side would be the need to install at least a 24-inch storm sewer, covering that with dirt and then pouring the sidewalk on top of ground where the sewer was placed to replace the ditch. The city also would have to maintain access to an existing sanitary sewer and meet the requirement of a safe distance from Redskin Trail.

As far as working on a bike path throughout the city, Ruck said she has talked with Lima city officials, who have placed a bike lane with city street traffic. They have signs along the road and on the road to warn motorists of cyclists.

Ruck shared that Lima pays $341.25 for materials and labor to place the stencil on the roadway. Lima puts them on the pavement every 250 feet, which would cost $57,000 to cover the route desired by the local cycling club in Wapakoneta.

Committee members instructed Ruck to continue working on plans through the winter.