Reconstruction of Jug Street is in the planning stages, but a construction time line hasn't been finalized.

Reconstruction of Jug Street is in the planning stages, but a construction time line hasn't been finalized.

Licking County Engineer Bill Lozier said the reconstruction is one of the primary projects being driven by the construction of the Mink Street-state Route 161 interchange, because Jug connects Mink and Beech roads.

During portions of the interchange project, which is being carried out by the Ohio Department of Transportation, Jug will have more traffic, he said.

ODOT will maintain the road, but "it can't handle the traffic it's already experienced," Lozier said.

"We need to pursue a long-term fix on that road," he said.

While most of Jug is within Licking County, portions of the road are in New Albany because the city annexed portions of Jersey Township, Lozier said. The city and county share maintenance for the road.

Both Lozier and New Albany City Manager Joe Stefanov said they needed to discuss a plan together for the road; Lozier said he planned to meet with city officials Oct. 18 to examine a funding strategy and project staging.

Stefanov said Jug Street from the county line to Mink Street is about 14,400 linear feet. Of that, the city is responsible for about 3,650 feet, or about 25 percent. The portions of the road that are part of the city are not contiguous, but instead are in pieces and adjacent to properties that have been annexed into the city, he said.

"The road is in poor condition," he said. "It needs to be improved."

Stefanov said the best solution would be to address the entire stretch of road at one time if the county and city have available resources. In that case, the county could bid the project and New Albany would reimburse 25 percent of the project cost.

He said a number of upgrades are options for improvements. The project could include overlaying the existing pavement, but also could include widening the lanes and berms, he said.

Jug was last paved in 2007, Lozier said, and 2,397 vehicles drive on the road daily.

He said Jug has not been addressed because a lack of funding. Gas taxes have remained flat in the last decade, and they are the primary funding source for county road maintenance, he said. Construction costs have also increased 2.5 times over the last decade, he said.

Following completion of the interchange, Jug would require resurfacing to keep it in good condition until a larger reconstruction project could be done, Lozier said.

He said he hopes to leverage funding available to the county and city. New Albany might be able to receive Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission funds, he said, while Licking County could receive Licking County Area Transportation Study funds.

The city and county also reside in separate Ohio Public Works Commission districts, which provide state funds for local governments.

The county also could receive grant funds from ODOT through the county's transportation-improvements-district program. Preliminary engineering for the planned Jug Street reconstruction was $192,000 and was funded through ODOT's TID program.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah