Friday, February 6, 2015

Johnstown poised to get funds for major repairs

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Monday February 2, 2015 11:55 AM


Johnstown leaders should know within two months whether applications for state funding have been approved.

Johnstown in 2011, 2012 and 2013 requested a state grant to rebuild Concord Road.

This year, the Ohio Public Works Commission appears to have come through with a $290,000 grant and a $340,000 loan to rebuild Concord, the only access road for two large housing developments in the village. Concord begins off state Route 37, on the village's southeast quadrant, and runs east all the way to Northridge Road.

The last significant repairs to Concord Road occurred in the 1980s. Only spot repairs and necessary maintenance have been done for the past 25 years.

The village submitted an application Oct. 2, 2014, to the Ohio Public Works Commission District 17 nomination committee to receive funding for this project. District 17 includes Delaware, Fairfield, Knox, Licking, Morrow and Pickaway counties.

District 17 on Jan. 23 recommended to the full commission approval of the grant and loan, Village Manager Jim Lenner said.

He said it would be exciting to finally be awarded funding after three unsuccessful attempts.

"Concord Road is one of the worst roads in the village and will only get more traffic as the village grows," Lenner said.

Within the next 60 days, village leaders should find out whether Johnstown officially has been granted the money from the commission. Lenner said the full commission usually follows the districts' recommendations.

The rebuilding of Concord Road would occur in two phases.

The first $200,000 phase would start near Middleburn Street and would be financed by the village.

The next phase would be focused on the first third of the road, from South Main Street to Concord Crossing Drive. This phase would occur after July 1, when the funds from the grant and loan become available.

The project is anticipated to create five-10 temporary jobs during the construction, according to the village's grant application.

A construction bid process is expected to begin in early summer 2015 and construction would begin by mid-July.

The $340,000 no-interest loan would be for a 29-year term.

Lenner said it would be great to get such "free financing" from the state.

Currently, Concord Road is plagued with drainage issues, which have caused road-surface failures, Lenner wrote in the grant application. Motorists often have to avoid potholes or ruts by swerving into the opposite lane, he wrote.

In the spring, a motorcyclist was thrown from his bike after hitting a pothole on Concord Road and broke his shoulder. Without proper funding, all the city could do was update the sign warning motorists about the treacherous conditions, he wrote.

In the grant application, Lenner wrote that the concern for safety of motorists is of the utmost importance for village officials and residents.