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Repairs will boost safety near mall

State, federal grants to pay for Clark County road project.Upper Valley stretch used by 14,000 vehicles per day.

A $1.72 million road improvement project for Upper Valley Pike next spring will improve safety and access to shopping in the mall area, Clark County leaders said.

County commissioners this week agreed to a contract with Barrett Paving Materials Inc. to begin the second phase of Upper Valley Pike widening and paving project.

Clark County Commissioner John Detrick said the project will improve safety coming from U.S. 40 toward the Upper Valley Mall. Approximately 14,000 cars travel that stretch per day.

“It’ll help improve traffic to our largest retail sales tax base, the Upper Valley Mall,” Detrick said. “I fully support it.”

Detrick said the project probably should’ve been done “20 years ago.”

The road work will begin at Cottonwood Drive and end at Ross Lane.

The improvements will be paid for through federal and Ohio Public Works Commission grants.

“Anything (County Engineer Jonathan Burr) can do to improve county roads is good for the citizens,” Detrick said, “and this doesn’t have to come out of his budget.”

The $2.5 million first phase was completed in 2012, widening and reconstructing more than a half-mile of Upper Valley between U.S. 40 and Cottonwood, and over three-quarters of a mile of Shrine Road from Upper Valley Pike to Locust Drive.

The second phase, Burr said, won’t be nearly as exhaustive as the initial work, which took nearly two years.

“It’s nowhere near as complex as the intersection at Upper Valley and Shrine,” Burr said.

Burr said the bulk of the work will be repairs, but the lanes will be widened near the curve at Tom’s Toys Boats RVs & Trucks, 925 Upper Valley Pike.

“The lanes aren’t consistent,” Burr said.

The project will also include resurfacing the road, center lane and curb repairs, new traffic signals at the McDonald’s and the mall entrance, and storm sewer rehabilitation in the area.

Burr said the project is expected to start as early as January, depending on weather, but road work isn’t likely to begin until late April.

There will be slight lane reconfigurations with striping and lining up lanes to “help flow,” Burr said. There are a few spots where the lanes are tighter than normal.

“We want to get (the road) up with current traffic volumes in the area,” Burr said. “There won’t be any major changes.”

There will be some delays, Burr said, but drivers will have access to businesses at all times.

Upper Valley Mall Manager Brenda Labonte said the improvements will make the entrance to mall safer and spruce up the neighborhood.

“Any time you improve the approach to any business, it’s always a plus,” Labonte said. “It will liven it up and make it look new. Any upgrade is always good.”

The bridge and intersection at Upper Valley Pike and County Line Road will be replaced in 2014, according to Burr. That project will cost approximately $1 million and is expected to be bid early next year. Construction is expected to begin in late summer 2014.

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