SIDNEY — A public meeting on the fourth phase of the state Route 47 safety improvements project was held in Sidney City Hall’s fire bays that face Poplar Street Tuesday evening, July 14. The project is currently in the Stage 1 design phase.

That area of City Hall was utilized because it is larger for better accommodating social distancing requirements. Other than city officials, including Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director, Gary Clough, who conducted the meeting, Engineering Manager Randy Magoto, Lori Werling, engineering secretary, Mayor Mike Barhorst and consulting Engineer Raymond Luk, with The Mannik & Smith Group, only one member of the public attended the meeting.

Clough explained the city of Sidney’s proposed improvements of state Route 47 from Interstate 75 to Fourth Avenue. The project is intended to improve safety within the corridor, he said, by addressing conditions contributing to a high frequency of crashes, including crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists.

The project, as proposed, will include the following improvements:

• Provide a raised concrete median between Fourth Avenue and Sixth Avenue, to prevent cross-over crashes and better define the left turn lanes. The existing guardrail between Fourth Avenue and Fifth Avenue will be eliminated. The median will extend through the Fifth Avenue intersection, preventing left turns to/from Fifth Avenue. The left turn movement from state Route 47 to American Trim/Wendy’s Restaurant will be retained.

• Upgrade the traffic signal at Sixth Avenue and state Route 47, including new mast arms and backplates. Improvements at this intersection will include minor widening to allow a U-turn movement from westbound state Route 47 to eastbound state Route 47, to accommodate southbound Fifth Avenue traffic seeking to head eastbound on state Route 47.

• Provide a 10-foot shared use path on the south side of state Route 47 from the existing crosswalk at the I-75 northbound exit ramp to Fourth Avenue.

• Upgrade pedestrian crossings at I-75 and Sixth Avenue to offer countdown pedestrian signal heads and enhanced visibility crosswalks.

• Close three of five driveways at American Trim. The main driveway opposite Sixth Street and the east-most driveway will be retained.

• Provide street lights and upgrade signage.

• Resurface the corridor and replace drive aprons as needed.

The project is expected to occur primarily within the existing public right-of-way, although minor temporary right-of-way up to 0.3 acre may be necessary to allow for construction access and grading, Clough said. No permanent acquisition is anticipated.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2022 and will take up to nine months to construct.

Traffic on state Route 47 will be maintained during construction, although lane closures and detours may be required. No impact to existing utilities is expected, Clough noted.

The project corridor, he said, is a mix of commercial and manufacturing/light industrial development that generally dates to the mid-20th century. Within the project limits, there are no National Historic Landmarks, sites listed or known eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, or sites for which Ohio Historic/Archaeological Inventory forms have been completed.

Within the census blocks that include the project corridor, Clough said minorities represent 4% to 23% of the population; individuals in poverty represent 17% to 45% of the population.

There are no wetlands or waterways within the proposed construction limits. Tree removals, if any, will be limited to isolated lawn trees. The project is not located within a designated special flood hazard area.

The current estimated construction cost is $2.5 million. The project will be constructed with federal safety funds and local funding.

A public meeting with property owners was previously held on Sept. 13, 2018, to discuss the proposed preliminary project and answer questions or concerns that were presented.

The environmental review, consultation and other actions required by applicable Federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been carried out by the Ohio Department of Transportation, Clough said.

Greg Collier, the one attendee present, asked Clough why was the shared use path was on the south side of state Route 47 instead of the north side. Clough explained there will still be a sidewalk on the northside, but it is better for multi-use on the side with less driveways to help prevent issues with vehicles turning into businesses on the northside of state Route 47.

The attendee also questioned the efficiency of the proposed U-turn, versus using the alley behind Wendy’s and utilizing traffic signals. Clough explained Wendy’s was adamant about having the U-turn for their customers who will be returning back into the downtown. Clough also said they wouldn’t want to force all traffic to have to use the alley to go back to the east of town. Drivers will still have the personal choice of which way travel.

Clough also elaborated on the center median on state Route 47 as having a 6-inch-high curb with concrete in the center of the median.

Environmental clearance is scheduled for April 1, 2021. The anticipated award date is Jan. 12, 2022.

City hold public meeting

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.