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Johnson Avenue Paving Project Delayed Once Again, but DOH Official Says it's Still Likely to See 2017 Start

By Jeff Toquinto on June 18, 2017 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

There’s some good news and some bad news relating to a major paving project on Johnson Avenue that officials were hoping would be completed by early to mid-June at the latest. The good news is that it’s still likely – although not 100 percent guaranteed – to get stated this year.
 
The bad news? If you haven’t already figured it out is that it’s not done yet – and hasn’t even started.
 
According to West Virginia Division of Highways District 4 Construction Engineer Jason Nelson the delay stems from an error in submitting the project for federal funding. And the error, has been addressed.
 
“The error began on our end in the way it was submitted. When we routed it to Charleston for submission to the federal level, it was submitted as a state-funded job,” said Nelson. “It also was overlooked and Charleston when it was forwarded and that led to the problem where it didn’t get approved.”
 
That, Nelson said, doesn’t mean it’s not going to be approved. Rather, he said the project has been resubmitted to Charleston to make sure the packet for federal funding is correct.
 
“It’s the same job. It’s just being submitted with the federal funding as the main source of funding,” said Nelson. “Typically all of these jobs are 80-20 jobs (80 percent federal funding, 20 percent state match).”
 
The project has been delayed before. In fact, after a few years of discussion it was supposed to be paved in 2016 and this year it was supposed to be let for bid in March with a completion date of early June anticipated and mid-June in the event weather became an issue.
 
When, and if, it begins the paving project will stretch 1.24 miles and cover milling and paving from the entrance area to Bridgeport Middle School all the way to Johnson Avenue’s intersection with State Street. State Street is just prior to City National Bank and Sheetz. The work includes sidewalk repairs.
 
The work on the sidewalks is what delayed the project from taking place last year after Bridgeport officials lobbied the DOH to include it on their paving list in late 2015. In 2016 it was initially set to take place but was delayed due to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements that are now in place with projects that include milling and paving. Due to the paving being an inch and the milling being an inch, the road work is officially considered construction. Projects beyond an inch or more immediately put the ADA rules into place, and this project will be more than an inch.
 
Last year, Nelson said the Department of Justice released a memo saying if a project was considered construction then it has to meet all ADA requirements. That mean that intersection ramps had to be modified, which initially raised the project from $130,000 to $500,000.
 
However, second reviews of many of the intersections showed compliance was already in place and multiple rights of way were already secured. He said the new cost for the project is estimated at a little more than $200,000.
 
Like the previously planned start date, if this starts later this summer it will almost certainly have portions of the work taking place once school gets started. Nelson said, however, it shouldn’t impact traffic.
 
Nelson said the last preliminary plans he reviewed showed that there were to be no lane closures during any time that school is in session between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The only work that could take place during school hours in that time frame, said Nelson, is prep work or incidental work that should impact traffic flow.
 
“I expect that with those restrictions the paving operation itself will be at night or on weekends.  That would be left up to the contractor to decide as long as they avoid those time slots,” said Nelson.
 
According to the last preliminary set of plans that I have, there are to be no lane closures during the dates that school is in session between the hours of 6:30 to 8:00 AM and 2:00 to 3:30 PM.  Other than some incidental or prep work, I expect that with those restrictions the paving operation itself will be at night or on weekends.  That would be left up to the contractor to decide as long as they avoid those time slots.


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