Fairfield set to buy former hair salon to help traffic problems

The city of Fairfield has agreed on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, to purchase the former Head Shed Salon at the corner of Dixie Highway and Seward Road to make way for an expected widening of that intersection. The city is agreeing to pay $250,000 for the property. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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The city of Fairfield has agreed on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, to purchase the former Head Shed Salon at the corner of Dixie Highway and Seward Road to make way for an expected widening of that intersection. The city is agreeing to pay $250,000 for the property. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Fairfield plans to buy a former salon to potentially widen the Ohio 4 and Seward Road intersection.

City Council approved a $250,000 purchase of the former Head Shed Salon so crews could clear the parcel for the anticipated intersection widening. The construction project, which is on Fairfield’s capital improvement project list, is estimated to cost about $1.35 million but doesn’t include around $100,000 in right-of-way acquisition costs.

This widening project would require a safety grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation. The city applied for one earlier this year but did not win an award, said Fairfield Public Works Director Ben Mann, adding they’ll reapply for another ODOT grant in the next year or two. This pushes any construction timeline back to at least five years out, Mann said.

“We weren’t successful (with the ODOT grant) based on the high right-of-way costs, but buying the property ahead of time, knowing what that cost is, and spending the local dollars on that, ODOT will have a better return on their investment if they were to select us,” Mann said.

Right-of-way costs were anticipated to be closer to $500,000 before a deal was reached to purchase the former salon property.

Mann said widening this intersection improves current and future problems for Ohio 4.

The city anticipates significant business growth along Seward Road with Fairfield Commerce Park still under construction and other business developments along that roadway. Mann said truck traffic heading to and from this side of Seward Road, which is to the east of Ohio 4, is expected to increase.

“With all the trucks making movements through that intersection ― trucks move slow and they’ll be a lot of them ― that intersection right now is a bit of a bottleneck in the timing of the entire Ohio 4 corridor because it doesn’t have a dedicated double left coming off Seward,” said Mann.

This intersection has the longest signal time on Ohio 4 in the city because Seward Road traffic on either side of Ohio 4 cannot move at the same time. Left turns from Seward Road to the east of Ohio 4 is now too tight of a turn for large trucks, even with two left-turn lanes, Mann said. One of the left-turn lanes also serves as a through lane crossing Ohio 4.

“By widening the intersection to allow for that (dedicated) double left and (traffic from both sides of) Seward to go, we’ll be able to have a little bit more time for Ohio 4,” Mann said. “Then that will no longer be the controlling intersection on all of Ohio 4, as far as for signal times.”

City Council agreed to authorize another $5,000 for closing costs and an environmental study.

The intersection widening will be after the city repaves a 2-mile stretch of Ohio 4 from Seward Road south ending in Springdale. This joint project is set for 2023 is estimated to be $2.5 million, with reimbursement from Springdale.