WILMINGTON — A huge update of Rombach Avenue is set to begin next year.
Mayor John Stanforth told the News Journal the $6 million project will stretch from First Financial Bank — where the roadway splits in front of Wilmington College — all the way to the Wilson Road intersection, past Walmart.
Bidding for the project will start in March with the hopes of construction being completed by December 2020.
“My objective is to build a safe and efficient corridor for our citizens and for our businesses,” Stanforth told the News Journal.
A safety study was conducted for parts of Rombach which showed that in 2017-2018 there had been 145 accidents, with 30 percent resulting in injuries requiring a squad run.
Because of this, the city was able to obtain a significant amount of safety grants to offset the costs of the project, provided that they follow through on recommendations made by the study.
“We’ve got $3.2 million in grants. So, we’ve done a pretty darn good job of helping offset the costs,” said Stanforth.
Among the construction to be done includes new pavement being placed, a new sidewalk allowing locals to walk to Walmart, constructing center lane medians, and installing state-of-the-art traffic lights — controlled by radar.
“They will communicate with each other, they will sense traffic, they will adjust to traffic,” said Stanforth. “Also, if an emergency vehicle needs to go through, they’ll have a device where they can push a button and all the lights will turn red.”
There will also be a strobe light on the bottom of each traffic light to let other drivers know that emergency service vehicles are on their way.
The cement median strips on Rombach will be placed for safety reasons.
“They found out that those turning lanes are a real safety hazard. So, they do away with them,” said Stanforth.
Business owners had expressed about concerns that these changes — mainly removing the left-turn options — would see them losing customers.
“My point is if the citizens feel safe, they’re more likely to come to your business,” said Stanforth.