The stretch of North East Street that has been closed for curb and gutter replacement, along with street repaving, was scheduled to be reopened Friday, helping alleviate the additional traffic congestion that has plagued uptown Hillsboro in recent weeks.
Plus, the city has won a grant of up to $50,000 for stoplight synchronization, Mayor Drew Hastings said Friday.
The grant will allow for upgrades of traffic light controllers and a synchronization plan based on a recent traffic light study performed by the Ohio Department of Transportation, which is awarding the grant.
Randy Barr, Hillsboro water/sewer and streets manager, said Friday that the traffic light work will be performed as early as December by TEC Engineering of Cincinnati, which specializes in traffic light timing.
Barr said the actual grant could be as little as $30,000 and as much as $50,000, depending on how many lights and controllers end up being re-timed and the amount of work needed per signal.
Barr said that over the years various changes have been made to traffic light timing, not all of them resulting in positive changes. He said that returning to timing based on the ODOT plan will be beneficial to overall traffic flow.
Barr said the city can still recommend certain variations based on what local officials know to be the most advantageous timing patterns at certain locations.
The North East Street project involved street paving, replacement of curbs and sidewalks, installing ADA-compliant curb ramps, storm drainage improvements, lane marking and minor utility grade adjustments.
Closing the stretch of North East that was repaired resulted in heavier than usual traffic in the center of Hillsboro, making it evident just how often motorists use North East Street to navigate north and south in the city.
The city has been doing a number of street and infrastructure projects through 2015, including the removal of stoplights, the addition of turn lanes, the ongoing creation of a bike trail, and numerous paving improvements and sewer line replacements.
Safety and Service Director Todd Wilkin recently told city council that the new pedestrian bridge on North High Street was complete, with a sidewalk that extends 50-feet from the bridge to the south.
Wilkin said additional funding is being sought, reminding council that the city had submitted a capital budget request to the state in 2013 asking for more than $400,000. The city was awarded just $100,000, but Wilkin said the city will be working with the state, local businesses and residents to continue extending the sidewalks out to Southern State Community College.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.