The city of Pickerington has recently been awarded an Ohio Public Works Commission grant for road resurfacing for areas in the city outside the boundaries of the upcoming state Route 256 Safety Grant project.
The city applied for the grant last September. It will fulfill Pickerington's 20-percent local match requirement for a road resurfacing project that is estimated to cost between $1.3 and $1.5 million.
Pickerington City Engineer Scott Tourville said the award is a combination 75-percent grant and 25 percent interest free loan.
He said the corresponding dollar amount is a $225,000 grant and a $75,000 loan.
"This will enable us to complete the improvements to (state Route) 256 at a significantly reduced cost," Tourville said.
The latest OPWC grant will allow the city to resurface an additional stretch of Route 256 just north of Diley Road to the east corporation limit, near the city's Community Gardens.
Tourville said the resurfacing will be done in conjunction with the much larger state Route 256 Safety Project in 2015.
"Once the safety project has completed all the work to widen the pavement, the entirety of 256 within (the) city limits will be resurfaced," Tourville said.
The 256 Safety Project will involve improvements from Interstate 70 to the Kroger/Giant Eagle traffic signal.
In addition to resurfacing, improvements for that project will include using the road's existing width to allow for three southbound lanes.
Additional turn lanes, medians, sidewalks and signal hardware will also be installed.
"The total design and construction cost of the improvements to S.R. 256 are expected to exceed $7 million, and we will be receiving $6.5 million in assistance via grants, interest free loans and assistance from ODOT," Tourville said.
In a related matter, Tourville said concerns over the current condition of Route 256, which has seen its share of deterioration in some sections, are being addressed.
"We have a lot of pavement on 256 that is need of repair, and all of it will be corrected in 2015 with the safety grant project," Tourville said.
"Until that time, our Service Department crews are working diligently to maintain the road the best we can.
"The primary area of concern is just south of I-70, where there are some sections of bad pavement and the highest traffic."
Tourville said recent traffic counts indicated that nearly 50,000 vehicles per day traverse 256 near the I-70 intersection.
"Typically, the majority of traffic using the roadway are the same motorists every day," he said.
"Most people drive the same way to and from work, school, and the grocery store," he said.
The goal, Tourville said, is to try to fix potholes but hold off on any major resurfacing efforts until the 256 Safety Project gets underway.
"We'll continue to try and fill them, and if they get too big to be filled we may have to do a full replacement," Tourville said.
"Full replacement is a better long-term fix, but it can be very expensive and, with the resurfacing coming in 2015, it would be a big expense for a very short time period," he said.