ELIDA — While motorists on Interstate 75 may be wondering where all of the orange construction barrels that once dotted the roadway have gone, people driving on Elida Road west of Eastown Road know exactly where they went.
Construction on the 8.5-mile section of state Route 309 from Eastown Road to U.S. Route 30 began in mid-spring after the sale date took place in March. The Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 now reports that the project is now 90 percent complete, with completion expected by the end of November.
“The project is generally on schedule, as the original completion (date) was mid-November,” according to Rhonda Pees, public information officer for ODOT District 1.
While most of the repaving work is complete from Elida to U.S. Route 30, construction barrels are still plentiful between Eastown and Pioneer Roads, where the roadway is being widened from five 10-foot lanes to five 12-foot lanes, with drainage improvements and sidewalks being installed, as well.
“The last major item to be completed are milling the pavement in order to smooth out the surface, which will occur this week throughout the project,” Pees said. “We will follow that with paving next week of the final driving surface of asphalt. Milling and paving of the final asphalt driving surface through Elida will begin at Wapak Road and move east.”
Pees estimates that there are 10 days of paving left to complete, with curb and gutter work wrapping up this week. In the meantime, driveways into businesses are still awaiting completion, since completing curb and gutter work is a necessary prerequisite to that step.
“We expect driveway work to be completed within the next two to three weeks,” Pees said. “Access at all driveways, although perhaps altered in some cases, will be maintained.”
Despite the construction zone, complete with its barrels and crews, businesses have been able to weather the storm for the most part, noting that sales have not suffered drastically during the road work.
“We’ve had customers call asking how to come in sometimes,” Peacock Water route driver John Warner said. “But we’ve still got a bunch of empty containers in the back, and that’s from today’s drive through.”
“What we’re seeing is less of the casual buyer coming in,” Matt Buckley, sales manager at Tracy’s Appliances, said. “That’s had a huge drop off. But they’re coming here if they know they want to spend a couple thousand dollars and want to buy multiple items.”
Throughout the process, every business interviewed found the construction crews very accommodating.
“I’ve had maybe two or three small complaints, but if that’s it on a project of this size, I have nothing to complain about,” Amish Merchant manager Eliot Walters said. “They’ve been very professional.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.