WILMINGTON — With a new year comes new street projects, along with some continuing ones, for the city.
At Thursday’s Wilmington City Council meeting, Safety/Service Director Brian Shidaker gave a forecast on some of the projects they have lined up for 2020.
The biggest project in the works involves improvements for Davids Drive.
“Unfortunately, Davids Drive is a very, very expensive road to do it correctly,” said Shidaker. “To do it correctly would require total reconstruction. It was not engineered and constructed correctly.”
He told council that, while there are still conversations on whether or not the curbs could be saved, findings show that the asphalt and base would have to be constructed over again. Truck traffic was cited as a reason for the state of the road, along with poor construction and engineering.
“I especially know now that after we’ve done coarse sampling … it was unfortunately doomed from the beginning. It was never going to survive the truck traffic and possibly the vehicle traffic as well,” he said.
Given the length of Davids Drive and to make sure it’s done properly, the project would have to be done in phases. Shidaker told council he had obtained $2 million for the first of three phases of the project — estimated to cost $3.2 million — and will continue to apply for more.
“It’s going to take time,” he said, adding the actual construction would start in 2022. “People always say, ‘Why can’t you fix Davids Drive?’ Because it’s probably $6 million to fix the whole street correctly and I’m not going to be the one who just asphalts over a bad road.”
Among the other project include continuing the street paving projects in the spring, this time working on the southwest and southeast quadrants of the city.
They’ll also continue improvements to the water treatment plant made possible by a $3.6 million grant from the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA). Algae treatment security updates, fluoridation by the end of the year, and computer system upgrades are among the projects highlighted by Shidaker.
The city was awarded also a $719,000 in grant money for the South Street safety service project. It’s focus is on the intersection on the Sugartree, Locust, and Main Street intersections on South Street.
According to Shidaker, safety studies showed the traffic light at the Sugartree and South Street intersection is unnecessary and could even be a liability.
“We have six times the traffic going north and south as we do east and west. They’re recommending a two-way stop with bump-outs (curb extensions),” said Shidaker. “I know everybody is going to be concerned that when you stop, heading west on Sugartree, you can’t see on South Street because of the New Life Clinic. There will be construction improvements so that you will be able to see.”
The intersections at Main and Locust will see updates to the traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, and parking improvements.
“We’ll be designing that this year and construction will begin next year,” said Shidaker.
Also during council:
• Shidaker and the councilmembers want to remind locals of a public meeting on Jan. 15 at 5:30 p.m. regarding the Rombach Avenue Paving Project. Those who wish to speak or present something at the meeting must contact the Clerk of Council — at 937-382-5498 — no later than 4 p.m. on Jan. 13. This is to make sure all parties have the opportunity to speak and have the appropriate time to do so.
• Kelsey Swindler was redesignated as Wilmington Council President Pro Tempore and committee chair for the new Public Works Committee, which combines the water and wastewater committees. Swindler told the News Journal this was due to change in management, with Rick Schaffer becoming the Public Works Director, which manages both the water and wastewater departments.
• Councilmember Bill Liermann was designated as the chair of the City Services Committee, but yielded his duties to Councilmember and committee member Nick Eveland. Liermann did this due to work obligations which may prevent him from arriving at meetings on time.