Fairfield’s $7M projects timed to have minimal effect on new schools


Fairfield’s $7M projects timed to have minimal effect on new schools

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Michael D. Pitman
Roads, water and sewer lines, and sidewalks are among the infrastructure projects that will be done this spring, summer and fall. Walter Avenue is one of four streets that have a deterorating concrete base the city will replace this coming year, and is one of several road projects the city will undertake in 2017. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

The city’s $7 million worth of infrastructure work will help Fairfield run smoother eventually, but for a few months this spring and summer, navigating parts of the city will be difficult.

The timing of many of the projects — such as for local road repaving, sidewalk replacement and the Ohio 4 water main replacement — are being done to have a minimal impact on the opening of the new Compass Elementary and Fairfield Freshman schools on Holden Boulevard for the 2017-2018 school year.

The two schools are part of the Fairfield City School District’s three new building projects. The third building will replace Central Elementary just behind the current school’s location.

The Ohio 4 water main project was “fast tracked” because of the opening of the new school, and to line up the repaving of Ohio 4 near the end of the next school year, said Fairfield Public Utilities Director Adam Sackenheim.

“Our contract (for the water main replacement) has a completion date of Nov. 1 to wrap everything up,” he said. “We’re trying to do the bulk of the work while school’s out so we’re not impacting the schools on Holden.”

Sackenheim said he also wanted to time the completion of the water main project with the Ohio 4 repaving project in 2018, where that project can also have a minimal impact on school traffic.

Much of the work has been approved, including the water main replacement project, road repaving for a couple neighborhood streets, and the annual street striping, sidewalk replacement and road overlay programs. Some will take a few weeks to complete while others, like the water main replacement, will take several months to finish.

But in the end, it will make things a lot better in Fairfield, said city engineer Ben Mann.

Much of the commuter and local traffic headaches will involve the $2.64 million water main replacement project along a 2-mile stretch Ohio 4 between Nilles Road and Bypass Ohio 4, but Mann said many streets are scheduled to receive new curbs, new sidewalks and a re-paved road. However, that will be all done from now until the end of this month or early June.

“There’s going to be a lot going on but we’re going to get a lot knocked out early which will be great for everybody,” Mann said. “We want to get it done before school starts up, and (people can enjoy) for the rest of the summer.”

Other projects happening in the city include:

  • Road widening of Symmes Road from North Gilmore to Ohio 4 (in progress);

City-wide road re-striping (to happen this month);

  • Seward Road culvert extension (later this year);
  • Traffic signal replacement on Holden Boulevard at the high school and the entrance to the new Compass Elementary (July or August);
  • Repairing the concrete-base roads of Vinnedge, Walter, Anthony Wayne and Fairfield avenues (later this year);
  • “It’s a few more projects than what we’ve been doing, but it’s not out of line what we had done last year,” said Mann.

    That includes more paving this year than in previous recent years, he said. The city had paved less in recent years because of the recession, “but we’ve ramped it up to do a little more than what we like to be doing every year.”

    And since the economy is more stable than it had been, the city will plan to keep up the increased amount of paving work, Mann said.

    A lot of the work — such as the Ross Road sewer project — had to wait on City Council’s approval of the annual capital improvement program budget. The CIP, which approved at the April 24 meeting, provides the blueprint of which projects will be done in the upcoming year. But council must still separately OK each of the fiscal allocations.

    “It compresses the time to get projects completed,” said Sackenheim, “and you have to wait till the money is available and the weather is good to make improvements.”

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