A ‘gateway’ to Fairfield will be getting a big upgrade in 2020

The southern end of Pleasant Avenue is set for a bigger upgrade than first planned to welcome visitors to the city.

Fairfield City Council approved an amended contract with Strand Associates to bring on Human Nature as a sub-consultant to assist in a conceptual design of the gateway — including signs and landscaping — just north of John Gray Road on Pleasant Avenue. The city previously approved a $70,000 to complete the final design for improvements to widen two sections of the road, which is also U.S. 127.

Ben Mann, Fairfield city engineer, said the road widening is needed for the heavy southbound traffic on Pleasant Avenue.

“Whenever there’s someone (traveling south) turning left there, it creates a pretty heavy backup,” he said. “It made sense to roll (the landscape project) into the widening project.”

Mann said the city’s gateway intersection at John Gray Road and Pleasant Avenue, one of the three southern entrances into Fairfield from Interstate 275 in Hamilton County, hasn’t yet been addressed.

“It’s more apparent on (Ohio) 4 and South Gilmore that you’ve entered Fairfield, so we want to remedy that (on Pleasant Avenue),” he said.

Mann said Strand will survey the area, then review and develop a preferred alternative with city staff.

The final engineering design for the two intersections include widenings at Calumet Way and Happy Valley Drive on Pleasant Avenue. There will be a southbound left-turn lane at Calumet, which will extend about 250 feet north of the intersection and 200 feet south. The widening at Happy Valley and Pleasant will include a center two-way left turn lane, about 750 feet long, near the Duke Energy substation drive.

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Landscape improvements at John Gray and Pleasant, which is also expected to be widened, are dependant on the final concept, but it’s expected to be around 300 feet long, Mann said. Landscape elements could include a center island between John Gray Road and Augusta Boulevard.

“Once we have a concept we’ll go back to council to acquire funding for the final (engineering) design (for the landscaping),” said Mann.

The final landscape engineering is expected to be done at the end of this year or beginning of 2020. Mann said it’s anticipated the widening and landscape projects will be included in the 2020 capital improvement plan project list. City officials anticipate the cost at $800,000. The city approves its annual CIP projects every spring.

The city considered other companies, including Choice One, Northwest Consultants Inc. and LJB. This is the second contract the city’s awarded to Strand in as many months. The company is providing engineering services for storm sewer improvements along the Rita Mae Drive and Muskopf Road area of the city. Strand and Human Nature previously teamed with staff on the design of the city’s dog park and trailhead project now under construction on River Road.

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