The new Hobart/Carl Smith Drive linking U.S. Route 62 and SR 73 on the north edge of Hillsboro could be open by late this fall – nearly a year ahead of schedule – Highland County Engineer Dean Otworth said Thursday.
“It’s coming along very well in spite of the weather we’ve had. There are plans to open it by late fall,” Otworth said. “It may not be completely done, with some things like seeding and the final surface to put down, but the main portion of all three phases should be 90 percent complete. The weather could hold things back, but barring that, the majority should be completed.”
Local officials believe the new road will help alleviate traffic congestion on the north side of Hillsboro.
The contract deadline for the project is August of 2016, but Otworth said there are several factors that have moved it along at an accelerated rate. Basically, he said it was the competency of the Jurgensen Company that was awarded a $6.9 million contract to complete the project, along with good engineering and good project inspections.
He said there was a 90-day limit on the closure of Careytown Road and an end of September deadline to have phase II of the project completed, and that it appears both those deadlines will be met. He also said Jurgensen will save money by finishing the project, or at least most of it, early.
Otworth said all the concrete curb and gutter work on phases I and III has been completed. He said that weather permitting, those phases should be paved by next week. That means, he said, that both the stone and asphalt bases would be down, as well as an intermediate asphalt surface.
He said the final surface would not be placed until the project is pretty much complete in case heavy equipment needs to be on it.
Phase I runs east from SR 73 toward U.S. Route 62 to just short of Homestead Avenue, where PAS Technologies is located.
Phase II starts at Homestead Avenue and runs east toward U.S. 62.
Phase III runs from a roundabout at the project intersection to Careytown Road, and includes all the work on Harry Sauner Road.
Hobart/Carl Smith Drive is actually two roads. It is called Hobart Road from U.S. 62 west to Homestead Avenue, and Carl Smith Drive from Homestead Avenue west to SR 73.
Otworth said the goal as of early Thursday afternoon was to have all the Harry Sauner Road lane work done by the end of this week, and that there would likely be flaggers stationed in that area while the work is being wrapped up.
The medians that serves as lane dividers in all directions as traffic approaches the roundabout should also all be filled in by the end of this week. The medians are flared to force traffic to follow the route correctly and slow down as it approaches the roundabout, Otworth said. As of last weekend, two of the four medians had been filled in.
Otworth encouraged local residents to visit the Highland County Engineer’s website to learn more about roundabouts. Those interested in learning more can go to www.highlandcountyeng.org and click on “projects,” then click on “current projects” to find a roundabout video.
The video explains how to use roundabouts and how they are substantially more safe than traditional intersections. The video says roundabouts, compared to traditional intersections, result in a 90-percent reduction in fatalities, a 76-percent reduction in injuries and a 35-percent reduction in all crashes. It says the benefits of roundabouts include eliminating dangerous left turns, increased safety, improved traffic flow, reduced emissions, lower costs, and community livability.
Preliminary plans for the Hobart/Carl Smith Drive project began in January 2007 when Otworth approached the Ohio Department of Transportation with a plan to improve the area’s transportation network by extending the existing Hobart Road from its terminus near U.S. 62 at the northern corporation limit of Hillsboro to SR 73.
Otworth said it’s been a long haul from the project’s inception to now, and that it could not have happened without considerable cooperation.
“I’d like to say thank you to the citizens for their patience during construction, to the property owners that helped and cooperated with the project, and the city of Hillsboro and other elected officials that have helped over the years,” Otworth said. “It’s been a team approach and I’ve been very appreciative of all their help.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.