The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t negatively impacted the Butler County engineers’ road projects for this year, but might pinch budgets for next year.
Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens said the various projects underway have started as scheduled and a couple came in below estimates. Wilkens hopes the lower prices are a trend, especially considering the impact the coronavirus is having on gas tax revenues that the state is predicting will be cut 30 to 35 percent for several months.
The county collected $2.9 million from gas taxes last year and $7 million from license plate fees.
Those monies back resurfacing roads. Wilkens plans to fix 53 miles of county and township roads this year at an estimated cost of $7.6 million. Wilkens bids and manages the resurfacing for the townships but those entities will pay about $4.37 million for the work this year. The commissioners accepted two bids for the work on Monday, $6.4 million and $7.7 million, and contracts will be awarded soon.
Other projects are in various stages.
Unique diverging diamond interchange at Union Centre in West Chester on course
Work finishing the new diverging diamond interchange improvement resumed March 16 and is tentatively scheduled for completion Aug. 1.
Drivers have had full access to the interchange throughout construction but there is a brief closure scheduled for the end of the project this summer, when work on the bridge deck will be done. Drivers will be able get on and off I-75 during the closure, they just won’t be able to cross over the interstate via the bridge.
“The closing will be four days and in those four days, construction will be going strong 24 hrs a day, so we’re hoping the weather and other factors are in our favor,” Wilkens’ spokeswoman Betsy Horton said. “The closure will be over a weekend most likely in July, toward the end of the project.”
The Butler County commissioners awarded the $20 million contract to the John R. Jurgenson Company last spring for the project that is funded with West Chester’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money.
The early estimate for the project was $14 million but Wilkens had to revise the projection a couple times due to the construction market last year. The township is paying $6 million in cash and sold $14 million in TIF-backed bonds.
Phase 2 of Tylersville Road widening isn’t disrupting daytime traffic
The final phase of a project designed to make Tylersville Road at the Interstate 75 interchange in West Chester Twp. safer and less congested for the 50,000 drivers who travel it daily is underway and slated for completion in June.
Given all the drivers and businesses in the area, construction of the $3 million project is being done at night. Wilkens said COVID-19 slowed the start slightly because the subcontractor that is moving the Wendy’s highway sign delayed starting due to the disease.
RELATED: Major Butler County transportation projects to total $18.5M in 2020
The project entails adding a westbound lane on the north side of the road from the interstate to Cox Road. To make that happen, access driveways to the rear of the eateries near Home Depot must be moved. There will now be two access roads to the rear service road, the current one at Dudley Drive and a new one that will run through the old Sunoco gas station site.
The project has been delayed twice, first because gathering right-of-way from businesses was challenging and last year because bids came in $1 million over estimates.
Work in Beckett Road area may start soone due to coronavirus
Drivers in West Chester Twp. will have road woes this summer as a major road project will shut down the intersection at LeSourdesville West Chester Road and Beckett Ridge Boulevard.
A new roundabout at the Lesourdesville West Chester Road and Beckett Ridge will be done in tandem with a drainage project on Beckett Road between Beckett Ridge and Union Centre boulevards.
The roundabout construction means the intersection will be shut down for the duration of the work. The work will be done in tandem and was supposed to begin when school let out for the summer after Memorial Day, but Wilkens said there is a chance it might start sooner, since schools could be closed for the rest of the school year.
The only potential problem with that is the $377,000 intersection improvement at Tylersville Road and Chantilly Drive is still underway.
“I’d love to see them start it early except for the fact that they’ve got that project going on, the 10-week project that has Tylersville shut down,” Trustee Mark Welch said. “If you shut down Lesourdesville West Chester and you still have a shut down on Tylersville that could be a real problem. The detour around that would be miles long.”
Wilkens said the same contractor is doing both Tylersville and the drainage project so Tylersville will reopen before Lesourdesville West Chester closes.
The roundabout is near Lakota Ridge Junior High School and down the road from Freedom Elementary School. The drainage project is in the vicinity of Lakota West High School.
Liberty Fairfield Road work continuing
The commissioners approved a $5.5 million contract with John R. Jurgensen Company for Liberty Fairfield Road widening project last spring. The project includes adding a center turn lane, widening the shoulders, adding street lighting at intersections and adjusting the vertical profile between Princeton and Millikin roads.
The project started in Liberty Twp. last summer and crews are working on the Fairfield Twp. side of the road now, to correct safety issues. Wilkens said the project should be completed in about two months.
The federal government is paying the largest share at $3.6 million, the state paying $840,775 and Wilkens’ office is picking up $486,735 and the Water and Sewer Department $627,710 for water line work.
A couple other major projects, like the $1 million intersection improvement at Liberty Way and Butler Warren Road, and some bridge work and replacements will start later in the year.