Some special projects are part of this year's road-maintenance program because New Albany's roads are in good shape, according to city officials.

This year, city officials expect to pay about $900,000 for the road-maintenance program, said Mark Nemec, the city's public-services director.

New Albany typically pays $900,000 to $1 million each year to maintain its roadways, said city spokesman Scott McAfee.

This year, more money should be available for special projects in addition to the road-improvement projects because less money needs to be put into repairs, he said.

New Albany City Council voted 6-0 on April 3 to approve the maintenance program, McAfee said. Council member Matt Shull was absent, he said.

With that approval, the city can take the project to bid, Nemec said.

The tentative schedule includes opening bids April 26, awarding the project May 4, starting work by June 1 and finishing by Sept. 30, he said.

Special projects

The first of three special projects that are outside the city's typical road improvements is the potential installation of a leisure trail near Harlem Road to Greensward Road, McAfee said.

City leaders initially had proposed to build a trail at Dublin-Granville and Greensward roads, but council members opted to hold off on that improvement because Columbus might construct trails in that area, he said.

"We need to get pricing before determining, but that project is definitely in the bid package and we will determine whether to proceed once we have all the info to make a more informed decision," McAfee said.

New Albany officials will reach out to Columbus to coordinate and better understand timelines for trail projects in that area and then assemble plans based on that information, he said.

If a trail eventually were constructed at Dublin-Granville and Greesward, it would connect to another one on Greensward, Nemec said, and it would stop just short of the bridge over Rocky Fork Creek on Dublin-Granville Road.

Nemec said he hopes Columbus officials would extend the trail and connect it to developments on Hamilton Road when the Franklin County Engineer's Office rebuilds the bridge over the creek next year.

The bridge is supposed to be widened for pedestrian access, he said.

The second of three projects is the installation of a planter island on Market Street at the intersection with Keswick Commons.

The island would replace four on-street parking spots on Market Street, Nemec said.

The city decided to remove the spots following public feedback, he said. More drivers were using the Market-Keswick intersection last summer because of the construction of the U.S. Route 62-Greensward-Lambton Park Road roundabout, he said, and the parked cars made visibility difficult when turning onto Market from Keswick.

For the third special project, Nemec said, the city plans to rehabilitate sidewalks in two neighborhoods: North of Woods, a subdivision close to Market Square, and Upper Fenway along Aspinwall, Leverett Park and Arboretum Court off Ackerly Farm Road.

A New Albany-Plain Local Joint Park District project -- the repaving of the Bevelhymer Park parking lot -- will be included in the maintenance-program bid, although the district will pay for it, Nemec said.

Road maintenance

Two high-traffic areas that the city will address in the road-maintenance program include less than a half mile each at Thompson and Smith's Mill roads, Nemec said.

Thompson Road will be resurfaced between Johnstown Road (Route 62) and Thompson Park, while Smith's Mill Road will be resurfaced from Johnstown Road to Kitzmiller Road, he said. Lane shifts and temporary delays will result from the improvements, but the city will not close the roads, he said.

The work should take two days or less for each project, weather permitting, McAfee said.

"There is a systematic approach to choosing roads for maintenance," he said.

The city has 280 lane miles, Nemec said.

The city's engineering technician assesses road conditions, including cracks, potholes, depressions and other types of damage. "Rideability" of the road -- how smooth or bumpy the drive is -- also is considered, he said.

Roads are rated on a scale of 1 to 100 based on their conditions, Nemec said. A very good rating is a score of 95 to100; a good rating is a score of 86 to 94; a fair rating is a score of 76 to 85; and a poor rating is a score of 75 or less, he said.

The goal is to have all roads in either good or very good condition, Nemec said.

Roads will be slated for improvements when they reach fair condition, he said. The city typically doesn't have any roads in poor condition unless they have been annexed from another jurisdiction, he said.

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