If you’re looking for something to deflect the pain of the current traffic problems in Portsmouth, here it is. The Ohio Department of Transportation is spending $2 million on three separate projects in Portsmouth. To begin with, ODOT is partnering with the city to complete a $1.28 million resurfacing project on U.S. 52 as part of the department’s total program in Scioto County this year.
Allard Excavation, a local company based in South Webster is paving the eastbound lanes (11th Street) from the city’s western corporation limit to the east corp limit at New Boston. The project also includes sidewalk construction and curb ramp installation in the city, as well as paving a section of U.S. 52 between Township Road 566 (Malone Cox Road) and Township Road 569 (Old U.S. 52) near West Portsmouth.
ODOT continues to work with the city of Portsmouth, where the city and state have come together to address several of the community’s infrastructure needs.
“Investing more than $2 million in three separate projects in Portsmouth this construction season, we’re working to preserve the transportation network while helping to alleviate, in part, the financial burden on the city and its resources,” ODOT District 9 Deputy Director Vaughn Wilson said.
Most recently, a contract for nearly $329,000 was awarded Allard to remediate a potential rock fall on the hillside along U.S. 52 West in the city of Portsmouth. Located between the New Boston-Portsmouth corporation limit and the on-ramp from Ohio 335, the project will include scaling and excavating the bench and ditchline of the route’s westbound side to remove loose or unstable rock, shale, trees and other vegetation to re-establish the slopes of the hillside. That project is likely to begin in early October.
ODOT officials are well aware that with most construction projects comes the irritation of work zones and orange barrels. Frustrations in the area are further compounded this season by the closure of the U.S. Grant Bridge for a maintenance project to preserve the bridge deck.
While the structure itself is in good condition, crews from Bridge Specialists, Inc. are resurfacing the deck with a concrete overlay, as well as applying resin and sealant to the bridge joints, to extend the life of the pavement and safeguard the deck.
After an original plan to maintain single lane traffic during the project, it was determined closing the bridge to traffic during construction was done in the best interest of both the motorists and the contractors, as it allows crews to work more safely and efficiently and facilitates completion in about half the time.
“Ideally, we wouldn’t schedule multiple projects in a specific area or region at the same time given the traffic impact to motorists, residents and businesses,” Wilson said. “However, we are entrusted by the taxpayers and by the people of not only Scioto County but all of Ohio to preserve the highway system, and we must schedule projects within the confines of the planning, engineering, funding and letting process.”
In general, construction projects are identified and moved through the district’s planning and engineering department based on need and funding availability. Once these determinations have been made and a project has been designed, a contract for a particular project is awarded through a bid letting process. Following this, the contractors then have a limited window of time during a given construction season in which they can undertake and complete the project.
During this year’s construction program in Scioto County, ODOT is investing nearly $2.3 million in the three projects in the city of Portsmouth. And apart from the construction of the new state Route 823, the department is investing an additional $2.8 million in six projects elsewhere in the county. It’s taking place at the same time as the Portsmouth Bypass, the state’s largest construction project ever. When all is said and done, that project will cost $1.2 billion.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.