LIMA — The new year is set to see the completion and introduction of a number of public projects throughout the city of Lima despite a few hitting snags along the way.
White it may be some time before any plans are concrete, the City of Lima has begun working with the Ohio Department of Transportation to see what could be done with downtown Lima’s central intersection.
Main and Market currently interconnect with a somewhat unique design involving a traffic island, two lighted crosswalks and an improvised north/south throughway resulting from a former mayoral dispute, but plans are underway to re-imagine the intersection.
Public Works Director Howard Elstro said the city has been invited to submit for state grant dollars that would overhaul its design, while also adding safety features to upgrade crosswalks, sidewalks and parking along Main Street, extending from Market Street to North Street.
At least one concept, Elstro said, was to create a true roundabout at that intersection. Due to the project still being in its infancy, there’s plenty of opportunity to work through what might be done to update the complicated intersection.
Too much sand and insufficient soil compaction has put the Schoonover Dam project in “hibernation” for the time being while construction crews wait for the weather to warm.
Elstro said the project ended up being delayed as engineers worked to set up the dam’s “key” — an important feature that prevents such structures from slipping under water pressure — but the sand and mud complicated the process to create the foundational piece.
The setback has moved the dam project’s finish date back to June.
In the mean time, much of the project’s related upgrades have since been completed. Schoonover Lake’s island has been reconstructed and reinforced, and the island’s old fountain that had disintegrated over time has been replaced with ornamental rocks and plants.
Elm Street Underpass
Another project expected to be completed in June, the Elm Street underpass project is hitting its final stages as contractors relocate underground infrastructure, such as water lines, storm sewers and gas lines in the area where the roundabout is expected to be completed.
Elstro said he’s heard a lot of positive compliments about the appearance of the work being completed at the underpass. Public sentiment about the roundabout to be placed just west of the underpass, however, has been more mixed as some voice their apprehension about using the newly-designed intersection.
Some residents have pointed to traffic incidents at the Shawnee roundabout intersection as a cause for concern, but Elstro said a key issue differentiating the to-be constructed Bellefontaine Avenue roundabout with Shawnee’s is the number of lanes.
Shawnee’s roundabout has two lanes, and Bellefontaine Avenue’s is set to have a single lane.
The difference should help mitigate sideswipes, which rose in frequency when Shawnee’s roundabout was installed. Experts say such an increase can happen when populations are unfamiliar with roundabouts and fail to follow the lane markings when moving through the intersection.
City officials place the overall Elm Street project at 77% completed. Monthly updates on the project’s progress can be found at golima.org.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.