Work to upgrade a 4,000-foot portion of Northwest Boulevard will begin after the city's Independence Day parade.
Every year, Upper Arlington residents and guests line both sides of Northwest Boulevard to watch the Upper Arlington Civic Association's annual July Fourth parade traverse the street from its starting point at Zollinger Road to its conclusion at North Star Road.
With that in mind, city officials decided to hold off on plans to reconstruct the street from Wilshire Drive to Barrington Road until July 6.
"We've told the contractors they cannot start this project until (then)," said Kyle Hoyng, Upper Arlington assistant city engineer.
The approximately $1.93 million project also will include the installation of new curbs, gutters and curb ramps, improvements to the storm-sewer system and work to address flooding issues along the corridor.
"A couple of goals we have with this project: No. 1 was to increase the quality and condition of the roadway on Northwest Boulevard, and No. 2 was to address the existing stormwater issues along Northwest Boulevard," Hoyng said. "We're going to install new curbs and gutters; we're going to have full-depth pavement reconstruction on the outside 4 feet on both sides of the roadway, and then the remaining roadway will receive pavement resurfacing."
Upper Arlington City Council unanimously approved giving a contract to Columbus-based Decker Construction Co. for the work on March 9 without discussion.
Councilwoman Michele Hoyle said after the action she supports the project because the road is a critical piece of the city's transportation system and in need of various upgrades.
"This project represents the improvement of one of our city's major thoroughfares," Hoyle said. "The coordination of roadway reconstruction with needed stormwater improvements is an efficient use of resources."
Hoyng said the work is needed because the existing curbs and pavement on that stretch of Northwest Boulevard earned a 4.1 grade during inspections in 2018. The score is on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the worst. He also noted the storm sewers are in "poor" condition, saying they're undersized for capacity in the area and some sewers had negative sloping, likely due to how they've settled over time
"Instead of flowing south, some of them actually went north a little bit," he said
Additionally, Hoyng said, the city wants to enhance pedestrian safety along that portion of the boulevard, which is near Barrington Elementary School, Jones Middle School and Devon Pool.
"As with any other project, we'll look to improve some pedestrian accessibility and walkability along this corridor," he said.
"We're going to add a rectangular, rapid-flash (crossing) beacon at the intersection of Northwest Boulevard, Brandon (Road) and Baldridge (Road)."
Hoyng said the city received support from UACA officials to install thermoplastic stars along the parade route each year. That move will relieve UACA members from the annual duty of painting stars along the Northwest Boulevard parade route.
"They all seemed very excited and interested with us installing those thermo-plastic stars for them instead of having them go out yearly and put down the traffic paint," Hoyng said.
The project isn't expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Hoyng said the street's resurfacing will take place in 2021.
"There'll be pavement on the road," he said. "It just won't be the final surface course, which is like an inch and a half or 2 inches of asphalt."
After the work is completed, city officials are expected to consider contracts for the second phase of Northwest Boulevard reconstruction in 2021.
That work is expected to be conducted in two sections along Northwest: a northern section between Wilshire and Fishinger Road; and a southern section between North Star and Barrington roads. A projected timeline for that work has not been set.