Belpre Council discusses repaving project

BELPRE — The repaving project on Main Street, also known as Ohio 32, in Belpre is nearing completion and city officials want to stress that the project includes a traffic pattern change which went into effect Monday.

At Monday evening’s meeting of Belpre City Council, Safety-Service Director Ron Cross said the Ohio Department of Transportation project is nearly completed and should be finished by the end of the week.

Under the $300,000 project, the street between the Memorial Bridge and Parkersburg-Belpre Bridge was milled, repaved and restriped. Cross said one major change in the street involves the center lane.

Previously, Main Street had two northbound lanes and one southbound lane for most of its length. Under the new traffic pattern, there is one northbound lane and one southbound lane, with the center lane being changed to a turn lane/emergency vehicle lane.

“Don’t use the middle lane unless you are turning,” Cross said, adding ODOT made the change to improve traffic safety on Main Street, especially for vehicles turning onto Main Street in either direction from the side streets.

Several city officials said they saw accidents nearly occur Monday because of drivers assuming the old traffic pattern was still in effect. Cross said the yellow and white striping reflects the new pattern but he will also check with ODOT to see if additional signage or roadway arrows can be added to clarify the new pattern.

He wanted to stress to drivers that the center lane is now only for turns and emergency vehicles.

In other business, council member Tim Gant, chair of council’s Utilities Committee, said letters regarding the city’s gas aggregation agreement went out Monday.

Under the agreement, residents who choose to participate will have a fixed price of $3.39 MCF (per 1,000 cubic feet) for natural gas for the next two years. For residents currently under the previous aggregation agreement, no action is required to continue participation, Gant said.

Those wishing to opt out of the aggregation agreement can do so in several ways, which are outlined in the letters sent Monday, he said. Those who opt out will not receive the fixed price set under the agreement but will pay normal market costs for natural gas, which can fluctuate, he said. The deadline is Sept. 17 to opt out of the agreement, Gant said.

Cross also told council the city is working with Belpre High School to put on its Inaugural Cross Country Invitational to be held Sept. 15 in Civitan Park About 15 teams and 400 runners are already expected to participate and volunteers are needed to make sure everything goes smoothly, he said. More information can be obtained by contacting Coach Jen Wells at 740-538-1202 or, he said.