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Published: Wednesday, 10/4/2006

Motorists can expect relief soon


Later this month, orange cones should no longer cause motorists to see red along Monroe Street in Sylvania.

For the last few weeks, traffic at times has slowed to a crawl past the rows of construction zone cones, but city officials said that the end is near.

Improvements are being made on Monroe Street between U.S. 23 and the railroad tracks west of Main Street. The street will be milled and repaved; sidewalks, curbs, and waterlines are being replaced, and conduit is being installed so that overhead utility wires can be moved underground.

Concrete work is on schedule, and the contract calls for that portion of the project to be completed by mid-October, said Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough. Curb work has already been finished, and crews are working to install sidewalks now, he said.

Milling and repaving work will be done at night to reduce congestion. The city is paying extra for the work to be done at night when fewer vehicles are on the roadway.

Crews began the milling work Sunday night, said Jeffrey Ballmer, the city's public service director. who said that the Monroe Street project is on schedule to be finished by Oct. 29.

City officials said that there have been some delays that couldn't be anticipated when construction got under way, including torrential rains that soaked Sylvania in the summer.

An unregistered underground gasoline storage tank, found in the public right of way along Monroe Street just east of Summit Street, had to be removed, delaying installation of a waterline.

In addition, the city asked the contractor to delay work on the north side of the street weeks in July during the 2006 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger, a Sylvania-based event that draws large crowds to the area. Because the city asked for the delay, the contractor was given an extra two weeks at the end of the project's timeline, Mr. Ballmer said.

Complaints from motorists have tapered off recently, compared to when the construction work began, the mayor said. "We got complaints early when there were major back ups heading towards the expressway," Mr. Stough said. During Flower Hospital's shift change at mid-day, motorists were stuck in long lines of traffic at Harroun Road and Monroe, waiting to make turns . Timing of traffic lights was adjusted to ease the congestion.

"Monroe Street is the most heavily traveled road in Sylvania. There is no way to avoid congestion during construction," Mr. Stough said.

Sylvania council awarded the $1.8 million contract for Monroe improvements to Gerken Paving Inc., in May.

Contact Janet Romaker

at: jromaker@theblade.com

or 419-724-6006.

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