Pike Street projects on track to finish by fall

The summer construction season has been creating many hiccups and long commutes for drivers, but officials are offering one piece of good news: both major intersection projects in Marietta are still set to wrap up on time.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is helping coordinate and supervise both the Pike, Acme and Jefferson and Pike, Acme and Greene improvement projects with the city of Marietta.

City engineer Joe Tucker said the Pike, Acme and Jefferson intersection is on track to end as scheduled.

“The official complete date is the end of August,” he said. “Depending on the weather, it could be extended to September. I’d love to see it finished before the Sternwheel Festival.”

Tucker said new light systems were activated Thursday that have a new advanced radar detection system.

“It tells when cars are approaching the intersection and can see cars 600 feet away,” he said. “It’s a quantum leap in technology for traffic signals. It should help improve safety and move traffic through quickly.”

Tucker said there have been minimal change orders for the project.

“We’ve seen something like three,” he said. “For a project of this magnitude, that’s very small, maybe in the $3,000 to $4,000 range. There have been no major problems that I’ve seen.”

The $1.6 million project includes widening of the roadway on Acme Street, and lane and traffic signal improvements at the intersection.

David Rose, ODOT District 10 communications manager, said paving, which took place on the Acme Street Friday, will also be taking place next week.

“The good thing is, it’s not going to last very long,” said Rose. “Motorists can be aware to expect some traffic delays there, but it’s not a whole lot of paving.”

Meanwhile, a portion of the Pike, Seventh and Greene project is mostly done, Tucker said.

“When you look at the project from the Marietta College soccer fields, it looks like the project (there) is completely done,” he said. “We finished the fence and netting and they’re ready to play soccer…That worked out pretty well.”

Rose said Seventh Street will see some traffic congestion into next week.

“(Workers will be) doing some paving,” he said. “It might be toward the end of the week.”

Rose said in about a month, the next phase will start, but will be determined by getting new traffic signals, which will match the high-tech ones at the Pike and Acme intersection.

“Whether we widen Seventh Street or Pike and flip over to do whole new curbs, gutters and sidewalks by the football field depends upon the traffic signals,” he said.

Rose said it’s the same thing that happened on the side of the road closest to Marietta College.

“There will be a lot going on here in the next month,” he said.

Tucker said a few change orders have come in, one costing $14,000 for the barrier fence and netting by the college soccer fields. He said there’s maybe five or six more, but he won’t know the amount until the proper paperwork and documentation from ODOT comes through.

The $2 million project intends to address the level of traffic flow there as well as provide a safe way for pedestrians to cross between the north and south sides of Pike Street.

One thing Tucker said is unique about the Pike-Seventh-and-Greene project is that water lines are going to be replaced at the same time.

“The water lines cost $119,000, but what we’re doing is…shifting the water line project into the transportation project,” he said.

Tucker said originally changing the water lines would have taken place after the intersection was complete, which would have resulted in tearing up new asphalt.

“We’re taking that amount out of the water fund and putting it into this transportation project and getting it done before the new asphalt goes down,” said Tucker. “Hopefully we don’t have to disturb it again.”

He said the completion date will hopefully be no later than November because the paining and paving are temperature sensitive.

During the roadwork, Marietta resident Josh Everson, 31, has been avoiding the construction areas as much as possible.

“I spent 45 minutes in traffic going from the west side to Walmart the other day,” he said. “I said I’d never do that again…I started to go through it there for a while, now if I can I hit the interstate and go clear around it.”

Cindy Nutter, of Marietta, said she’s noticed progress on both projects.

“I think they’re doing really pretty well,” she said. “It seems like every time I go by, I see more done. I only go (through the construction) when I have to. I think we’re all going to really appreciate it once it’s finished.”

Tucker said he’s heard many ask why the city wanted to do two major intersections at one time, and the answer is simple.

“If we would have done this staggered, we would have had two years of this,” he said . “Do you like someone to pull the band aid off of you quickly or slowly? I know it’s difficult for the public…(but) once we’re done with it all this construction season, we’ll have a nice efficient coridoor down Pike.”