City and township to seek funding for road projects

Grove city and Jackson Township held a public forum on Aug. 27 to discuss the widening of White Road and the replacement of the State Route 665 and I-71 overpass.

Twenty two citizens attended the meeting – most of who lived along White Road.

The manager for the White Road project, Ryan Andrews of the engineering firm EMH&T, told the group that at this "very preliminary phase" his firm does not expect the need to acquire land to accommodate the widening.

When completed, the road will be widened from Buckeye Parkway through McDowell Road to include a center turn lane. The new lane would prevent traffic from congesting while a car waited to turn left, Andrews said.

Running along the north side of the road would be a bike path and running along the south side of the road would be a sidewalk.  Decorative street lights would improve nighttime visibility. Curbs and a storm sewer would replace the current drainage ditch.

The street would be 36 feet wide. The township’s right-of-way extends 10 feet from the edge of the existing pavement, said Jackson Township Administrator Mike Lilly.

Any trees in the right-of-way will be removed. If a tree stands behind the right-of-way, but has roots that must be cut, the owner of the tree will receive compensation for the tree, Lilly said.

The speed limit would remain 35 miles per hour, however the city will annex the property so that Grove City police will patrol it rather than county sheriffs’ said engineer Mike Keller, also of EMH&T.

Construction on the few blocks of White Road on either side of McDowell Road will begin in the spring of 2009. This is considered phase one. Phase one, which was designed by a different engineering firm, has already secured funding.

The estimated cost for phase two, which would conclude the project at Buckeye Parkway, is $4.5 million. The township and city will apply for a state grant to cover $3 million.

The city and the township hope to benefit from part of the $1.5 billion in economic stimulus money approved by the state legislature in July for capitol improvement projects. The deadline for applications is Sept. 8, Lilly said.

If the project wins the grant money, the engineers plan to begin the contract bidding in early 2009 to complete the paving before winter.

During construction, the road will most likely be restricted to one-way traffic. Mail and trash service will not be affected, Andrews said.

The city also hoped to tap into the state stimulus funds to replace the deteriorating 665 overpass with an interchange similar to the one located at Sawmill Road and the I-270 outerbelt.

Darlene Murphy who owns a real estate office near the bridge said she will "celebrate when the new bridge is built".  

The concrete on the current bridge crumbles free of the rebar and the pavement shakes when she crosses it.

To understand that it needs replaced "all you have to do is go out and sit on the bridge for 10 minutes," Murphy said. "I drive across it every day and pray that I don’t have to stop in the middle."

Murphy’s husband Ed said he fears the bridge because it causes traffic to back onto the interstate at rush hour.

In addition to replacing the existing interchange and overpass structure, the project would widen 665 from Gateway West Drive North to South Meadows Drive.

Both projects are in the "conceptual" phase of development.

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