BIDWELL — Area residents and government officials met at the Ohio Department of Transportation Gallia County Garage on Jackson Pike, Tuesday evening, to discuss efforts with the public to rehabilitate a stretch of concrete road on Ohio 7 in the southeastern portion of the county.
“We had a stakeholder meeting and we introduced this topic when we came down to the Ohio Township building to give a brief overview of what we plan to do with this project ,” said ODOT Pavement Engineer Matt First. “The concrete road that’s currently in place from about the five-mile marker to about the 10-mile marker (of Ohio 7) is old and failing. It was installed in 1946. It has had a couple concrete repair projects through the years, one in 1994 and one in 2013. Some of the conditions…show some of the situations where we have concrete that has started to fault or fail. We have panels where no longer line up with each other, we have that at both longitudinal joints up the middle of the road and between concrete panels as you travel down the road. It’s a sign it’s served its life and starting to have structural deficiencies and we need to do something to upgrade this area.”
ODOT crews intend to remove the existing concrete and stabilize the subgrade, earth material under the road, and build a full-depth asphalt pavement to replace the concrete. Average daily traffic for the area is estimated at 2,300 vehicles a day.
“We’re going to look at drainage in the area while we’re there,” said First. “We understand that there are a lot of features in that area that need tied in. We’ll replace culverts in that area and tie in drainage features that exist in that area.”
“The hardest part about doing a two-lane rehab project is maintaining traffic,” said First. “We want to work with all of you to keep your access to your property reasonable. That is going to involve using detour routes at certain times. So, the first detour for us that we will be directing traffic to is our state route detours. We want traffic that’s moving through the area that would be using 7 to use State Route 553 and State Route 218 to bypass the area where we’re working. Once we start construction, the intent is from the beginning to close State Route 7. It will officially be closed once the detour goes into place. We’ll maintain traffic through the phases but it will be for local traffic only.”
According to presentation materials, road closures will begin at County Road 162 and end at County Road 170. Only local traffic will be permitted within road closure. All traffic must use detours. Construction will also be completed in six stages.
Phase one will see construction for temporary driveway access for residents and boat ramp, construction for the proposed realignment of Valley View South Drive. The intersection of Valley View Drive will be closed. Phase two will see construction at the north and southbound lanes of Ohio 7 from Valley View South Drive and to the boat ramp entrance. No vehicles will be permitted through the section during the phase. Phase three will see construction of the northbound lane of Ohio 7 from the southern project end to Valley View Drive. Only northbound local traffic will be allowed in the work zone. Phase four plans show construction from the southbound lane of Ohio 7 from the southern project end to Valley View Drive. Northbound local traffic will only be permitted through the work zone. Phase five will see construction of the northbound lane of Ohio 7 from the boat ramp to the northern project end and again only northbound local traffic will be permitted through the work zone. Phase will construct the southbound lane of Ohio 7 from the boat ramp to its northern project end. Only northbound local traffic will be permitted through.
“Phase one and phase two are kind of similar,” said First. “Phase one will construct some temporary access to keep people so they can access the boat ramp and we’ll build temporary access at the south end of Valley View Drive for a few residents so they can get in and out of there. During Phase two, we’re going to be working in the South Valley View area up to the boat ramp. During this particular phase, it’s probably the most restrictive phase and we want to get it done quickly. During that phase, we’re going to close that section of 7 completely. That will allow us to build that full stretch of road at one time…During phases three and four, we’re going to reconstruct the southern end of the project area. That means we’ll be working from the Hannan Trace west branch area up to the south end of Valley View Drive. During this phase, local traffic will be allowed to come into the zone and access the area. However, it’ll be one-way traffic. If you’re coming into this section of State Route 7, you’ll have to come from the south and traffic will flow one way, northbound.”
“We’ve been coordinating with West Virginia and working to get regional traffic out of the area, hopefully before it ever gets close to our closure,” said First. “So, we want traffic that would be traveling from the Huntington area to or through the Gallipolis area to consider going across the river and using State Route 2 in West Virginia to make their way north, parallel to 7. I’m also coordinating with them to hopefully provide a trucking route. We want to encourage heavy traffic to use I-64 and US 35. Again, to move them out of the area while we’re trying to build the project. West Virginia has been on board with that and we’re working out details to coordinate traffic with them throughout the region.”
Construction is slated for spring 2020 and ODOT is still working on project deadline details.
Swan Creek and Bladen Road are anticipated to serve as the major detour routes for area traffic.
When asked about placing a traffic light to manage traffic during the project, First responded, “We want to run the zone as a complete closure. By running the zone as a complete closure, we can avoid having a portable concrete barrier and if we have to have a portable concrete barrier, there is no way you’ll ever get a 17-foot combine through.”
Those looking to access local businesses will have to detour and travel northbound on Ohio 7 from the south detours to access said businesses like local traffic, said First.
The public is welcome to comment for the next 30 business days, said ODOT representatives the night of the meeting. Feedback and questions may be sent to ODOT Public Information Officer Ashley Rittenhouse, 338 Muskingum Drive, Marietta, OH 45750, 740-568-3904 or emailed to email@example.com.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.