Fayette County Engineer Steve Luebbe recently answered questions about multiple projects around the community, including upgrades to the mega-site at the I-71/US-35 intersection.
About a month ago, the Record-Herald reported on a Fayette County Commissioners’ meeting where a local farmer and owner of Bluegrass Farms, Dave Martin, decided to donate land to the county for a new road called Bluegrass Boulevard that will run through the Fayette County mega-site and will be about half a mile long. Additionally during the meeting, it was explained that Martin also sold a part of his land at the same spot to McKesson — a pharmaceutical products wholesaler — for its new facility that is expected to retain 129 positions and add an additional 42.
“McKesson fronted the money (for the roadway) but there are some reimbursements in place through a couple different channels,” Luebbe said. “This is the first on-site infrastructure project at the mega-site and it is all being put in to serve the new McKesson building that is going up out there. It’s actually the county’s first design and build project that we have ever done, so we have to locate a good local contractor to get the work done, but it’s being privately funded so we only really have a lot of time invested into it.”
During the interview with Luebbe, he explained that more work is being done to the site dubbed “Project Zeus.” In addition to the half mile of new roadway, the county is putting in a turn lane on State Route 435 to accommodate traffic into the site, will be building about a mile of new sewer, a mile of new waterline and about two miles of sanitary force main. Though this is an endeavor that is being privately funded, the county has been working with McKesson and others to manage the project.
Luebbe said he is expecting the upgrades to be substantially completed this year with final completion of the project, “likely next spring,” as McKesson finishes work on the building.
Luebbe next talked about other road and bridge projects around the county, starting with a bridge on Danville Road (north of Bloomingburg). This project just started, according to the engineer, and will be closed for roughly two months as a 60-foot single-form bridge is replaced through federal funding the county was able to secure.
“We are getting federal money to do that bridge and we are expecting to be finished with it before harvest season starts,” Luebbe said. “We were able to actually get some extra federal funding on that through some in-house administrative avenues. We actually managed to get the bridge funded 95 percent through federal money. We have been fortunate to be able to do that. The last 5 percent was funded locally and it’s about a half a million dollar project all together. We are pretty happy about that.”
Other projects the county is completing include two paving contracts for some county and township roads. The total price on all the paving for this year is $1.5 million, with about a third paying for the township roads and the other two-thirds covering the county roads. The roads total almost 28 miles of paving with about eight miles being done on Bloomingburg-New Holland Road and about four to five miles of Stafford Road, among several others in the county.
“We are doing about 10 different roads but most are just bits and pieces and those are the two biggest ones in the batch,” Luebbe said. “Some of the roads have already been paved, but we are in the middle of our paving program now and we hope to have them done before school starts sometime in August. We are also doing about $250,000 in a chip seal program for 20 miles of road which hasn’t started yet, we are still working with the contractor on the timing. The chip seal program is typically for rural roads, and we always select on condition ratings that our office does every other year. The roads are all over the county about where it is needed the most.”
Finally, Luebbe was looking forward to a 134-mile striping project this year that utilizes some funding to place “thermal plastic,” instead of the usual paint to cover around half the roads in the county. According to Luebbe, they typically use paint on the roadways, but this year the state of Ohio said they would fund the difference between paint and the thermal plastic.
“You see this in newer projects and what they do is melt plastic onto the pavement,” Luebbe said. “It lasts a little bit longer, it’s brighter and shows up better. It is really expensive, but we usually can get around $150,000 in federal money for striping and this project is almost $700,000, which is why we usually don’t do this type of striping and why you don’t see it on a lot of rural roads. But they said they would fund the difference and we said, ‘Okay.’ So we are going to put the good stuff down. The paint usually tends to fade after about a year, whereas this plastic should go about five years before we need to do anything with it, so I expect it to last that much longer. We will have to wait until the paving is done so those crews won’t start until sometime in September, but it’s a quick operation and won’t take them long to get through that much roadway.”
The information in this article was provided by Fayette County Engineer Steve Luebbe. Stay with the Record-Herald for more coverage of local projects as it becomes available.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.