Fairfield hasn’t quite finished the right-of-way acquisition of 21 properties along South Gilmore Road, but the lion’s share will only be temporary.
Public Works Director Ben Mann said only four properties will require permanent right-of-way easements, but negotiations on some have not been completed. There are also a few temporary right-of-way easements still being negotiated.
If negotiations have not yet been settled, the city may need to go to court but can continue negotiations during that process.
The properties are needed to widen South Gilmore Road in 2024. The project is expected to be between $3.8 million and $4 million, of which $2.2 million is funded by the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana Regional Council of Governments.
The project includes widening southbound Gilmore Road from just north of Mack Road to about 600 feet north of River Road. It includes a center turn lane and a landscaped median. There will be new sidewalks on the east and west sides of South Gilmore.
The sidewalks were identified in the Fairfield Connects Master Plan, which accomplishes two of the city’s six connectivity goals: connecting residents to neighborhoods and major destinations. According to the plan, “a complete sidewalk network will allow for community residents and workers to walk between neighborhoods, parks, schools, and commercial and employment destinations.”
The plan indicates the area around South Gilmore and Mack roads as “a major employment center with additional development opportunities.”
This project, which has been described as a longtime congestion point, or a bottleneck, on South Gilmore Road, is scheduled to bid in 2024, with construction substantially completed in 2024.
The widening project has been discussed for a few years, and the consultant on the project was contracted in early 2021 and first draft of plans were delivered later in that year.
Once this project is completed, the city will focus on the last section of South Gilmore Road to be improved, from Resor Road to Old Gilmore Road, which is slated for 2025. The city is seeking nearly $900,000 in Ohio Public Works Commission funds to help pay for that project.
The 2025 South Gilmore Road project calls for reconstructing portions of curb, curb ramps, milling, overlay, new pavement markings and guardrail replacements, among other things. According to a staff report, there are “a significant number of accidents” along this portion of South Gilmore Road “due to poor sight distance at many of the intersections and driveways,” according to the report.
A center turn lane is to be installed as a safety countermeasure, and this 2025 project also help reduce existing lane widths in order to reduce speed and discourage truck traffic.