Clark County drivers will see more than $11 million in safety upgrades and improvements to area roads and bridges this year.
Derr Road will be the largest of the road projects the Clark County Engineer’s Office will undertake this year.
Crews are expected to begin making more than $4.2 million in safety improvements along Derr Road due to increased traffic in July.
Traffic volumes in the Northridge area increased after a construction project completed in 2009 changed Derr Road from a bridge over Ohio 334 to an interchange and created a new access point to the state highway, according to a study of the Northridge area.
To improve traffic flow on Derr Road, construction crews plan to make a number of changes, including adding a 5-foot shoulder along Derr Road between Villa and Moorefield roads, a traffic signal at the Derr Road and Montego Drive intersection, a northbound right turn lane at Derr Road and Kingsgate Drive, and a northbound right turn lane at Derr Road and Montego Drive.
Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee Director Scott Schmid said the changes are needed because of increased traffic volume and crashes along the road that went from a rural route to a suburban road.
“The lanes (on a rural route) are a little more narrow and you don’t have shoulder because it’s not handling as much (traffic) volume. Once you start to build out here and start to increase the volume, you need the shoulder, you need the lane width to handle that much traffic,” Schmid said.
The study analyzed the impact of construction and the impact that future development would have on the area and found that traffic volumes are expected to grow from between 8,600 and 10,000 cars per day along sections of Derr Road to between nearly 11,000 and up to about 14,000 vehicles daily in other parts by 2035.
The project is expected to be completed by mid-summer 2017, Engineer John Burr said.
In addition, Burr said crews are expected to complete work on a six-mile stretch along Lower Valley Pike.
Crews began last year replacing three bridges and widening the Lower Valley Pike corridor between Osborn Road and Enon Road by adding two- or four-foot shoulders on both sides as part of a $6.5 million project.
The third bridge over Minich Ditch is expected to be replace this summer and the entire project is expectedd to be completed in June or July, Burr said.
Work was needed along Lower Valley Pike due to the deterioration of bridges over Jackson Creek, Donnel’s Creek and Minich Ditch as well as a safety study that revealed a high number of crashes along Lower Valley Pike between Osborn Road and Enon Road, Burr said.
He also said crews are expected to replace the Buffenbarger Road and the Columbus Avenue bridges.
The bridge replacements will cost $90,000 each. Work is expected to begin this summer and they should be completed between May and July 2017, Burr said.
Engineer officials are also expected to rehabilitate four county bridges, including Union Road, Baldwin Lane, North Hampton Road and Mitchell Road bridges.
The deteriorated bridges cost $25,000 each to repair.
“They’re getting down close to where they would be load rated and we need to get to them before they’re load reduced,” Burr said.
Mitchell Road was recently completed. Crews are expected to begin work on Baldwin Lane this week and North Hampton and Union Road in the next couple months, he said.
Burr said crews may start $500,000 in work on the Old Columbus Road bridge late this summer if the Ohio Department of Transportation completes $1 million project on the Moorefield Road bridge in time.
Burr is responsible for 240 bridges and 308 miles of county roads.
He said the engineer’s office has replaced about 60 county bridges since he was elected to the position in November 2008.
“Load reductions were completed on them. Some of these weren’t designed for current loads, a lot of old bridges, a lot of deteriorated or a combination of both. They weren’t built for today’s standards,” Burr said.
Burr said replacing and repairing deteriorating bridges was one of his goals because many bridges statewide are closed and load reduced, creating the risk of bridge failures.
“We shouldn’t have any with load reductions on them. That’s everybody’s goal,” Burr said.
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