WILMINGTON – The City of Wilmington announced Tuesday that Phase 1 of the Rombach Avenue project — from Fife Avenue to the eastern corporation limit — will be postponed one year with construction delayed to begin during the summer of 2021.
“This is the best solution for both the city, the state, for our local businesses” said Mayor John Stanforth in a news release. “Delaying the project gives the state the financial flexibility to address needs in the healthcare system due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It also allows our businesses to be open for business when the healthcare crisis is over, without the additional interruption a large construction project brings.”
The project includes:
• Repaving nearly 3 miles of Rombach Avenue and East Side Drive
• Construction of nearly 100 feet of new sidewalk plus a shared use path more than a half-mile long
• Installation of new, connected traffic signals with modern technology that will allow the signals to communicate with each other and adjust green times based on traffic flow
• Installation of new, highly visible pavement markings
• Replacement of the old water main in front of East End school
• Crosswalk improvements at key locations throughout the corridor
The Rombach Avenue Corridor Improvement project is funded through a combination of federal and state money in the form of a safety grant from the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Urban Paving Program, and a zero-percent loan funded through Round 34 of the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) infrastructure program.
Last week, OPWC announced that due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the interest of reserving funding for hospitals and other emergency programs, Round 34 funding will not be automatically released in July as was planned.
After communication with the city about how to move forward with this critical Rombach Avenue project, the state has agreed to allow the city to move the entire Rombach project into the next fiscal year, which means the improvements will be completed in the summer of 2021 rather than 2020.
“We appreciate the tremendous partnership with ODOT and their willingness to defer the Rombach project a year,” said Safety/Service Director Brian Shidaker. “Delaying the project will extend the opportunity for the significant OPWC funding to become available. The City may also realize unintended cost savings if the project is constructed during a time of better fiscal certainty.”
The City of Wilmington and Ohio Department of Transportation will continue to collaborate to develop a full, revised schedule for the Rombach Corridor Improvements. Updates will be released when available.