STEUBENVILLE - Paving work on the Lovers Lane Connector is now nearly complete and City Engineer Michael Dolak is already planning for the next phase.
The Shelly & Sands Corp. of Rayland was awarded the $969,897 paving project and started work on the connector on June 6.
The completion date for the project is Aug. 24, according to Dolak.
PHASE ONE — Steubenville Engineer Michael Dolak checks the paving work on the Lovers Lane Connector. Dolak said the major repaving work is now complete and the street paving contractor has some minor final work to finish.
"The paving work is essentially complete. The guardrail is completed. There is just some incidental work that needs completed at this point," Dolak said.
"This connector opened in 1992, so we got 20 years out of the roadway. We hope the paving project gives us another 20 years. Meanwhile, we are preparing for Phase Two of the Lovers Lane project that will see expansion of Lovers Lane at the intersection with Fort Steuben Mall Drive," explained Dolak.
"At this point the city's share of the Lovers Lane Connector project is $10,000. We received $200,000 from the Ohio Public Works Commission and an additional $759,897 from the Federal Highway Administration which is administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation. We worked very hard to leverage all available funding to do this work," cited Dolak.
City Council is expected to hear the third and final reading of an ordinance Tuesday night authorizing the hiring of a professional engineer for design work on Lovers Lane that may include a roundabout circle at the intersection with Fort Steuben Mall Drive, wider driving lanes and possible mail box drop-off sites.
"Our conceptual design at this point will see Lovers Lane widened from the current 9-and-a-half-foot lanes to 12-foot lanes. We are also looking at expanding the Lovers Lane and Sunset Boulevard intersection," said.
"The roundabout, if we choose that option, could be 100 percent federally funded. That would be the first phase of this project. The second phase would be widening the existing lanes and the Lovers Lane and Sunset Boulevard intersection," Dolak said.
"We anticipate hiring a design engineer by November. The actual design work will take place in 2013 and 2014 and we expect to see actually work starting in 2015," Dolak explained.
City officials have been reviewing and discussing plans for Lovers Lane to Fort Steuben Mall Drive for the past several years.
"Studies show there is a great deal of traffic on Lovers Lane from Sunset Boulevard to the Mall Drive intersection. After the intersection, that number drops to approximately 5,000 vehicles a day. A roundabout naturally calms down busy traffic in residential areas. It would allow us to efficiently handle the traffic at that intersection," City Manager Cathy Davison has said.
"We are also looking at different options for the residential mailboxes on Lovers Lane and how to keep traffic moving when mail is being delivered," Davison remarked at a June City Council meeting.
Davison said officials are also looking at widening Lovers Lane and are considering right of way issues at the intersection of Lovers Lane and Sunset Boulevard.
"That may affect private property at that intersection. The estimated cost of the Lovers Lane project is $8.6 million, of which $5.9 million will be federal funding," Davison said.
"Our future plans also call for the widening of entrance of Lovers Lane from Sunset Boulevard," Davison noted.
"We are working closely with Mike Paprocki at the Brooke-Hancock Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission in order to obtain federal funds for this work," said Davison.