Street project behind schedule, nears finish

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Crews working on the Maple Street project in Plain City have added curb cuts and sidewalks to the entirety of the street. Although no additional width has been added to the street, the work will prevent on street parking at some businesses, which has caused concern. Village officials said the street should be paved by the end of this week.

(Journal-Tribune photo by Michael Williamson)

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Plain City’s Maple Street reconstruction project is nearing its finish, more than a month beyond the original completion date.

Business owners on Maple Street brought their concern over the delay to the village council meeting Monday evening along with concerns over a potential lack of on street parking.

Dr. Richard Shugert, whose chiropractic office is located on the street, said he was originally told street parking would be available to his patients but recently learned that may not be the case.

“We’ve put in new curbs, we’ve put in new utilities and that’s terrific and I’m completely understanding that nothing goes right in construction, I get that,” Shugert said. “My biggest concern is that, all of a sudden out of nowhere, there’s going to be no parking.”

Shugert’s property has separate, off-street parking but he said his patients often park along the street outside of the building as they have since the office opened in the mid-1990s.

He added he spoke with construction workers on the project and they informed him there would be no room to park on the street.

“If that decision has been made, why wouldn’t we have brought in residents or businesses and say, ‘hey this is what we’re thinking,’” he said. “This completely changes the use of my building.”

He said it’s mostly concerning because he has had patients fall in the uneven street during the construction project.

Mike Minshall, who owns the auto service building at the corner of Maple Street and Main Street, said he was unaware of the addition of the grass strip to the space between the new sidewalk and the curb.

“It was my understanding that there was not going to be a grassy strip there along the building until the day before they decided to do it,” he said. Customers at the auto shop sometimes park along the northbound lane of Maple Street.

Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said no new decisions have been made or changes brought to the project with regard to the parking situation. He said with the exception of a couple of change orders, the designs have remained the same.

“The plans and designs had already been made and in place when I took over as administrator,” Cahall said. “Designs have not changed since last year.”

The project was approved in the spring of 2018 when Kevin Vaughn served as village administrator. Cahall took over the job in July 2018.

“People were parking in that area outside the office but essentially they were parking in the southbound lane of traffic,” said Cahall. “To have actual on street parking, we would need a minimum of 8 feet which means we would have to eliminate the sidewalk.”

He said the width of pavement on the street has not changed from what it previously was.

The previous street had some sidewalks but no curb and went 20 to 22 feet from side to side.

“That hasn’t changed. We still have two 11-foot travel lanes. We’ve just added the curbs and sidewalks,” Cahall said.

He said the two main factors in the delay of the project have been wet weather and “unforeseeable issues with existing infrastructure.” He said during construction, crews would find piping and tiling in locations not listed on village maps.

“That and what we have found in some cases hasn’t been touched in half a century,” he said. “The total cost of the project isn’t in yet, but it should come in close to the initial amount.”

The original bid had the project coming in at $1.3 million. Cahall added that it’s difficult to say the total since there is still $700,000 worth of finishing work to do this week.

“Our hope is, weather permitting, we get everything done this week,” he said. “The goal is to have paving done by Friday.”



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