City Council received update on project

Augusta City Council members heard an update from Chuck May, engineer from Schwab Eaton, on the South Ohio Street project at Monday’s council meeting, but no estimated completion date was shared.
“There’s no question that it’s a struggle and there’s been a lot of issues.  Things are moving slow,” May advised.
He explained that there had been delays at the Main Street intersection, but now that area is paved and the first layer of pavement has been applied to the west side of the street headed north to 12th Street.  
“Traffic will soon be switched to the west lane, so work can begin on the east lane,” he said.
 Councilman Tom Leffler asked if the east side would be easier to  work than the west side.
“Yes because the main trunk of the storm sewer was on the west side,” May responded.
“This has been a challenging project with a number of problems.  Working through them takes time,” City Manager Josh Shaw stated.
Councilor Cale Magruder asked, “When can we expect an update with a realistic completion date that we can give to our citizens?”
May advised that he would know more after a meeting in December and would be able to give Council a better timeline concerning completion.
 Other city projects; 2017 street sales tax projects, city lake road, and the Garvin Park restrooms/concession facilities, were briefly discussed.   
North Ohio Street conditions
At a previous meeting, council members had voiced concern on the conditions of North Ohio Street, specifically north of David Street to the city limits.  
“We checked the conditions. There’s issues with cracking, probably caused by the subgrade under the road...An overlay wouldn’t last long.  That road needs re-construction,” May continued, “Josh asked me to come up with a rough estimate.”
He explained that re-construction of two lanes with a third tur lane would be between $1.2 million or $1.3 million.
“I know this is a project that everyone wants to look at...If you want a maintenance-type project, we have a good start.  If you want to wait and look at alternative financing, or if  you want to roll this into a current project - we need to know,” Shaw stated.
Councilor Mike Rawlings asked if chip sealing the pavement would be an option.
“Some of that alligator cracking is causing chunks to pop out.  Chip sealer generally just keeps water from getting in there,” May advised.
Leffler asked, “How bad will it be if we wait?”
May said that if our area experiences a couple of mild winters, there may not be a need for a lot of patching, but that the problem would keep getting worse.
 May shared numbers from a 2015 traffic volume report on North Ohio Street.  The report indicates that approximately 8,000 vehicles travel that stretch per day and that the number will be around 12,000 in a few years.  
“Based on volume, I recommend re-construction,” May said.
“I’ve been seeing a lot of near accidents at the entrance to Brookside.   I think that stretch needs three lanes...Maybe we could save the reconstruction for the north part later,” suggested Councilor Rawlings.
Councilman Magruder asked for numbers on truck traffic.
“Some of the trucks belong there, but I see a lot that don’t.  They do significant amount  of damage to our roads.”
Consensus from council members indicated that they would like to move forward with a study and assessment of the road from Belmont north to the city limits.  
“That road is getting busier and busier.  I think we need to do it now, but take our time and get it right,” stated Councilor Justin Londagin.
City Manager Shaw will put together options on performing a study on North Ohio Street.
Public hearing
Council approved scheduling a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Dec. 18, at City Hall to take input and comments on the proposed amendments to the 2017 Budget.
Due to publication timing constraints, it is necessary to schedule the public hearing prior to staff determining which funds will need to be amended and by what amounts.  The public notice will reflect the proposed amendments after the November month end financials are reviewed and a opy of the notice goes to the Council and the Butler County Times-Gazette on Dec. 4, 2017.