U.S. Route 27 construction project to start spring 2014
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 23:01
Jan. 15, the Oxford City Council viewed a presentation regarding the newest addition to the US-27 South Safety Improvement Project.
Oxford service director Michael Dreisbach outlined construction that is to take place on U.S. Route 27 South beginning March 1, 2014 and running through July 31, 2015. The project is estimated to cost $11 million, according to Dreisbach.
The upcoming project will improve the safety of a stretch of U.S. Route 27 South, according to Dreisbach. One of the highlights of the project includes the construction of a new bridge over Collins Run. Because the portion of the bridge will be paid for by federal funds, the bridge will adhere to federal safety and construction regulations, according to Dreisbach.
Additionally, the bridge will be raised eight feet above its current height, reducing the slope from the bridge to Chestnut Street. According to Dreisbach, this slope reduction will create a safer intersection at Chestnut Street.
“In addition to the bridge construction, there will be new turning lanes at all major access points on the highway, as well as creating two 12-feet-wide travel lanes and two 8-feet-long paved shoulders on both sides of the road,” Dreisbach said. “Once the project is completed, we can also consider painting bike lanes on the shoulder area, allowing for safer passage for bikers.”
The road will also consist of a two-foot curb and gutter area on each side of the road as well as 6-foot-wide tree-lawns and sidewalks on either side of the roadway, according to Dreisbach.
The project will not come without its obstacles, according to Oxford Mayor Richard Keebler.
“One issue is that we have to work out contracts with roughly 36 different property owners whose properties will be affected by the construction,” Keebler said. “Also, two properties – the Oxford Cemetery groundskeeper house and a house near the end of the construction zone are built too close to the roadway.”
Although these two structures lie within the construction zone, effected property owners will be compensated by the city for any infringement of the road onto their property, according to Keebler.
“Some concerns have been expressed by several property owners, including the new gates at the Oxford cemetery that are in the right of way,” Keebler said. “The property owner is concerned whether those gates will be able to remain in place or not.”
During the time of the road construction, which is projected to take place over the course of roughly 16 months, traffic will be extremely delayed, according to Dreisbach.
“The road will be reduced to one lane with a traffic signal that allows for oncoming traffic from both sides to take turns passing through the single lane,” Dreisbach said. “So, one will have to wait for a platoon of cars to pass from one direction before the other lane is permitted to pass.”
In addition, the new high school is located at the south end of the project limits, which is expected to cause an even greater delay for traffic.
“Although ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) regulations forbid us from creating a detour [on a federal highway] per se, we will be posting alternate routes during the time of construction to help ease the influx of traffic in the area,” Dresibach said.
Not everyone views the construction plans as a good thing, however. Junior political science major Michael Lowery was present at the council meeting.
“I often take 27 South when coming back and forth to and from school,” Lowery said. “It’s irritating to know most of my senior year will be spent waiting at a one-lane stop light.”