Grove City plans to award a contract for Stringtown Road improvements early next month.

Grove City plans to award a contract for Stringtown Road improvements early next month.

City council on March 19 gave a first reading to an ordinance appropriating $8,196,000 for the second phase of the road's reconstruction improvements. Funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission includes a $3,902,104 grant and a $2,494,789 loan. The city's short-term contribution is $1,603,107.

Phase 1 was completed in 2005 and 2006. Phase 2 includes reconstruction of Stringtown Road from McDowell to Hoover Road.

Improvements to the three-quarter-mile stretch of road include curb installation and new sidewalks, bicycle paths, a water main, storm sewer, decorative street lights, traffic signals and brick streetscape accents.

In mid-April, a public meeting will be scheduled with the contractor, said city service director Les Spring.

Most of Stringtown Road currently is five lanes, with two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane. Improvements include widening a 500- to 600-foot, four-lane section to add a center lane, said Mike Keller of EMH&T, the city's engineering consultant.

Nearby businesses are receptive to the improvements, Keller said.

"It's going to be a nice gateway to their businesses," he said.

The city has patched Stringtown Road during the past 10 years, and no major improvements have been done in the last 12 years, Keller said. Stringtown Road was built in 1974.

Construction is estimated to take 15 months. The city plans to maintain three lanes of traffic - a lane in each direction plus a center turn lane - during construction.

During Phase 1 of the project, much of the Stringtown Road traffic used White Road instead, Keller said. The city waited until improvements to White Road were completed before starting Phase 2. Stringtown Road is a major arterial road for the city. In 2010, the road averaged about 22,100 vehicles per day.

A distinctive feature of the Stringtown improvements will be a bicycle path, separated from the road and berm by curbing and brick, running the length of the road project.

Spring said the difference in cost between a traditional bike path and the one planned for Stringtown is negligible.

The city plans to connect bike paths on Stringtown and White roads by 2013 or 2014.