As relief for State Street congestion nears, Westerville city staffers are preparing for a new bout of roadwork along the city's other major artery: Cleveland Avenue.

According to project manager Nate Lang, crews are "getting finished up" when it comes to work at State Street and Schrock Road, which has added to the busy street's congestion over the last several months.

The second phase of the project was finished near the end of 2016, and the city moved on to the north side of Schrock early this year.

Lang said crews are working on "odds and ends" such as landscaping, signs and paint, and plans are on track to finish the work and completely reopen the road before June.

"By the end of the month, everything should essentially be wrapped up," he said.

But commuters on the south side of the city won't have a long break between major roadway construction projects.

Jeff Kessler, capital improvement project coordinator, said the $15 million project is expected to be sent for bids in early June, with a contract for the work awarded by the end of that month.

He said once a contractor is identified, work should begin around 30 or 45 days later, and for the major reconstruction project, that could mean more traffic slowdowns.

But when those slowdowns begin will depend on the contractor's schedule, which it will set.

"It's hard to say what the contractor is going to start with until we actually have a contractor and see what their plan is," Kessler said.

The massive project, a collaboration between Westerville, Columbus and the Ohio Department of Transportation, aims to achieve "capacity and safety improvements" on Cleveland between Interstate 270 and the entrance to Mount Carmel St. Ann's north of Schrock Road.

Two new lanes will be added on Cleveland to ease congestion, while an additional eastbound turn lane on Schrock will add dual right-turn lanes at Cleveland.

New sidewalks and bicycle paths will be added to connect to Sharon Woods Metro Park and St. Ann's facilities.

The project is to be funded largely by grants, including $5 million from ODOT, $5 million in federal funding and $3.35 million from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

Work should begin in late July or early August, and will continue through at least the end of 2018. Kessler said he doesn't know specifics yet, but added Cleveland Avenue is expected to maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction during busy hours and avoid detours.

Later in the project, during specific parts of the work, the contractor may need to restrict traffic to one lane exclusively during nonpeak hours.

Kessler said the work shouldn't affect St. Ann's too much, and accounts for keeping the main entrance of the hospital open.

"We've been working with the hospital for probably the last five years for this project, so they're well aware of it," Kessler said.

Kessler said he's pleased that everything is still running on schedule as the start of the work approaches.

"We're anxious to see what kind of bids we get," he said. "So far we're on track."

As work on State Street winds down, Lang is looking forward to using his resources elsewhere.

"It'll be nice," he said. "It's a big project, and we've got Sunbury Road (construction) and our street-rehab schedule kicking off. So it's always good to get a project finished."

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