Roadwork to begin around new Warren construction
Road work will begin next week around the Warren Local Schools campus.
As part of a team effort with the Ohio Department of Transportation, Warren Local Schools and the Washington County engineer, the project was designed to improve safety around the campus. All work is scheduled to be done by July 2021.
Warren Superintendent Kyle Newton said a traffic impact study was done before the building of the new high school and elementary school began. It was to show the traffic impact for the next 30 years.
The campus is in an unusual situation, as it impacts four roads – Ohio 339, Warrior Drive, Mary Avenue and Ohio 550.
With the combining of the two previous elementary schools and the eventual move of the administrative offices to the campus, there will be an increase in traffic.
“We created a best case scenario as a package, not just with one road,” Newton explained. The next step was to find out where the money would come from and how the project would be possible.
“Variables can be adjusted and worked through to do what makes the most sense and the most impact,” he added.
The road work is funded through ODOT, the county engineer and the school district. Some work has already been completed, including upgrading Mary Avenue from a township road to a county road. It was completely removed to be widened and straightened, he said.
“A new township road was introduced and we had to have a way for traffic from the elementary campus to get onto (Ohio) 339, and make looping traffic through the campus easier,” he said. “It will be paved by Beaver Excavating starting Monday or Tuesday.”
The new township 1520 will be named through a process laid out by the Ohio Revised Code, said Roger Wright, county engineer. It started with getting the legal right of way from the school and affected land owners.
“There are public hearings and the public hearing, they will take recommendations for the name of the road,” he explained. Recommendations can come from the school, land owners or anyone impacted by the road. Then they will coordinate with Rich Hays, county EMA director, to see that there is no conflict with names of existing roads.
“Either (Washington County) commissioners will have the right to choose a name from those recommendations, or they can choose something else,” Wright said.
A resolution is on the agenda for Monday’s school board meeting to send their name recommendation to the commissioners.
The road will be established and the EMA office will establish new addresses on the road. Signs will be ordered and erected showing the new name. The entire process should take six to eight weeks.
“We hope that people are patient (with the road work),” Wright said. “There will be some traffic delays, but it will better in the long run.”
Ashley Rittenhouse, public information officer for ODOT District 10, said Beaver Excavation is doing the road work, but only work on Ohio 339 will be maintained by ODOT.
“We won’t maintain the school entrances or township road once it’s built,” she said. Although work is being done on Ohio 339, it was a team project to get everything coordinated.
“There is a state route involved. There is school property involved and a county road involved,” she explained. “It was a team effort to get to this point. One contractor will be doing all of the work, but (Ohio) 339 will be the only route ODOT will maintain.”
Rittenhouse said one of the more noticeable changes will be that part of Warrior Drive will be one-way.
“Where Warrior Drive connects to (Ohio) 339 to the first entrance (to the campus) will be one-way,” she said. If a vehicle is traveling north on Ohio 339, they will be able to turn right onto Warrior Drive. Southbound traffic won’t be able to turn onto Warrior Drive.
“If you are sitting at the first school entrance, you can’t turn left onto Warrior,” Rittenhouse added. “We recognize it will be a change for drivers, but it was necessary to improve safety.”
Newton said making this part of the road one-way was important.
“It’s the lynchpin of all those improvements,” he noted. “It makes all those improvements work efficiently.”
Some phases of the work will require lane closures and the use of temporary signals for maintenance of traffic.
Newton said another big change will be the addition of a left turn lane on Ohio 339 onto the new township road. A left turn lane couldn’t be added in front of the Silver Moon Diner.
The township road will be used by elementary and middle school parents for pick up and drop off of students.
“Coming from the south, going over the turn lane would be dangerous,” he said. At Mary Avenue, the road couldn’t be widened because of Davlin Lake, so it was decided to add the turn lane at the new township road.
Improvements will also be done to each of the three entryways to the campus to make it easier for buses.
Michele Newbanks can be reached at email@example.com.
• Construction of new township road just south of campus.
• Rehabilitation of three existing school entrances and ADA compliant curb ramps along Warrior Drive.
•Addition of a left turn lane on Ohio 339 southbound.
•Widening of Ohio 339 to accommodate the turn lane.
• Work is to be completed by July 2021.
Source: Ohio Department of Transportation.