Contractors do not believe they will be able to meet the approaching deadline to have fiber from Dublin to East Liberty operational.
At Wednesday’s U.S. 33 Council of Governments (CoG) meeting, Shane Campbell, project manager with Gannett Flemming, reported that several problems could keep the company from meeting the Aug. 11 deadline to have the fiber lines live.
Earlier this year crews began running conduit and fiber along a 35-mile stretch of U.S. 33 connecting Dublin and the Traffic Research Center (TRC) near East Liberty. As part of the construction bid requirements, a portion of the fiber was to be live and operational by Aug.11.
Officials knew the timeline was ambitious but were assured it could be done. At the meeting, Campbell said maybe not. He said the Ohio Department of Transportation, which is paying for the largest portion of the project, had not been able to reach an agreement with Dublink, the city’s company that controls the fiber around Dublin.
“That is preventing fiber from getting blown into Dublink,” Campbell reported.
Andrew Bremer, deputy director of strategic initiatives and programs for ODOT, said an agreement was reached Monday and that hurdle has been removed. The project manager said with the conduit installed, fiber can be inserted very quickly.
Campbell said the bigger problem is getting power to the lines. He reported that to have the lines operational, there needs to be electric power to a shed at the end of the line on TRC property. Campbell explained that Dayton Power and Light has said crews can’t get the power installed until next week, possibly as late as Wednesday.
Bremer suggested the company install generators to test the capabilities and to power the shed if needed.
Campbell said that even if the deadline is missed, it shouldn’t be a problem. He said he believed the deadline was set to coincide with the completion of a TRC welcome center. He said the center is behind schedule so the fiber will not be needed as early.
Doug McCollough, chief information officer for the City of Dublin, said the date was not arbitrary and was decided by a large group, at multiple levels of a variety of organizations. He said when TRC decides to use the line is irrelevant to the construction contract.
“The date is the date until we agree it isn’t the date,” McCollough told CoG members.
He said the date has been set and distributed and officials all the way up to the governor’s office.
While 24 of the 432 total strands are to be lit next week, the remainder are to be operational by year’s end. Once that primary route is complete, work will begin on the local loop — running on Industrial Parkway to Columbus Avenue, through Marysville to Northwest Parkway, Honda Parkway and Route 347 to TRC. That loop could take about six months. The total project will include 111 miles of fiber.
Local officials had planned on funding and creating the loop, but last year the state agreed to pay for the project.
Days later, it was announced the U.S. Department of Transportation was providing nearly $6 million to help pay for Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) towers along the corridor. The improvements will allow the corridor to become a testing ground for autonomous vehicles as well as other technology.
Officials said it was the involvement of state and federal officials that has pushed the timeline. At Wednesday’s meeting, local officials said they are working on an agreement with the state to determine ownership of the fiber.
“It is going to be important to know who owns the assets,” Phillips said.
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