Preliminary work is underway on summer road-construction projects that will affect Cheshire Road in Berlin Township on both sides of the Alum Creek reservoir causeway.

Construction at Cheshire and South Old State roads is not set to begin until June 1.

"The project includes construction of a new single-lane modern roundabout to handle the recent and planned growth in this area," said Rob Riley, chief deputy engineer with the Delaware County Engineer's Office.

Riley said the intersection would be closed for about five weeks.

The construction cost is about $1.35 million, with funding provided by the Delaware County sales-tax fund for roads and bridges, Riley said. Detour routes will be Old State to U.S. Route 36 to Africa Road to the north, or Old State to Lewis Center Road to Africa Road to the south, and Berlin Station to Piatt Road to Peachblow Road for the Old State Road detour.

"The roundabout project is coordinated with planned work on the Cheshire Road causeway and on Africa Road," Riley said.

This works includes rehabilitating the bridge deck on the structure over Alum Creek Lake near the east end of the Cheshire Road causeway, to be completed at the same time as the roundabout construction.

Other parts of the project include repaving and adding paved shoulders on Africa Road from Cheshire Road south to Jaycox Road and also on the Cheshire Road causeway and the addition of turn lanes on Africa Road at Lewis Center Road and at Plumb Road. All work on Africa Road will be completed while maintaining traffic, though short-term lane restrictions will be in place starting in July, Riley said, with planned completion by September.

The construction cost of this project is $5.5 million, with Delaware County receiving federal highway funding grants through the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission for up to 80% of the project cost.

Berlin Township Fire Department chief Craig Hall said he has been in communication with the engineer's office on the closures and timetable.

"I was advised by the county that one lane would be maintained for us to get across the causeway. I have also spoken with Delaware County EMS and BST&G (Fire District) in regards to responding on runs across the bridge if needed," Hall said.

"Dispatch has a plan in place, through our automatic-response agreements that would send the next-closest department in our place."

Riley said the engineer's office anticipates being able to complete those projects on schedule despite concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns.

"In general, we should be able to maintain our current project schedules for this year but have altered our normal work procedures to keep our workers safe," Riley said. "County construction engineers and inspectors are working from their county trucks and are not entering buildings. They are practicing social distancing and hygiene. We are using electronic communication instead of paper forms to prevent spread of the virus. We are also coordinating with the contractors to ensure that their employees are following appropriate procedures as well."

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