Fairfield eyeing 2 big road projects in seeking federal funds

The city of Fairfield will have the intersection at Pleasant Avenue and John Gray Road upgraded, and two intersections on the southern end of Pleasant widened to help with traffic flow in one of the busier roadways in Fairfield. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
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The city of Fairfield will have the intersection at Pleasant Avenue and John Gray Road upgraded, and two intersections on the southern end of Pleasant widened to help with traffic flow in one of the busier roadways in Fairfield. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

The city of Fairfield is trying to leverage state grant funds to improve two major roads.

City Council gave the OK for the acting city manager to apply for a pair of Ohio Public Works Commission Grants, collectively valued at $900,000, to improve Ohio 4 south of Bypass Ohio 4, and two intersections on Pleasant Avenue.

Together, these two routes move a total of 60,000 cars a day.

The first project for Pleasant Avenue improvements would widen the road at two locations to accommodate turn lanes, said Public Works Director Ben Mann. Around 20,000 cars travel this stretch of Pleasant Avenue during peak weekday hours.

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The first location would widen pavement to extend the two-way center left-turn lane on Pleasant Avenue south of Happy Valley Drive.

“If anyone wants to turn left, it’s not only dangerous, it also backs up traffic for long stretches,” Mann said. “We want a little bit of a center turn lane so if anybody turning into those businesses south of Happy Valley Drive can safely do that without causing long delays of traffic.”

The second, at Calumet Way, would widen the road to southbound left-turn lane.

“Right now, it’s not a huge neighborhood, but if anyone (traveling south) wants to turn left, to do that backs up traffic. It doesn’t have a left-turn lane to sit safely in,” Mann said. “When you’re backing up traffic, it starts to make you nervous and you might take a chance you might not otherwise take. It’s safer for the people turning in, it’s really safe for the people behind them or in the congestion.”

If approved, the OPWC grant would be $300,000 with the city paying the remainder. The total cost of the project is $627,055, and includes pavement widening, grading, reconstructing portions of the curb and curb ramps, storm sewer improvements, milling, and overlay.

The second project will be to repave the southern portion of Ohio 4 in 2023. Mann said it’s “obviously important” to improve this roadway as it’s “critical to moving traffic in the region.” Around 40,000 cars travel this stretch a day.

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“This is where the majority of our accidents are in town, and a lot of them are rear-enders,” Mann said. “New pavement, new pavement markings, anything we can do to hopefully decrease some of those accidents is good.”

This total $2.5 million project includes work done in Springdale, and around $1.5 million of the project is expected to come from the Ohio Department of Transportation. The requested $600,000 grant will help with the local match, Mann said. Springdale will reimburse Fairfield for work done within that city’s corporation limits.

Work for this project includes milling of the existing pavement, new asphalt, pavement markings, concrete curb replacement, and any needed adjustments to sanitary manholes and water valves. Some items are not eligible for ODOT funding, like curb, guardrail and sidewalk, and each local government will pay for those projects with local funds.