The city of Delaware's project to add a middle left-turn lane along most of East William Street, which began last June, has not been slowed by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"Just the opposite," said Lee Yoakum, the city's community-affairs coordinator.

"School closures and less traffic have allowed us to extend daily work hours and keep the project on schedule for a midsummer 2020 completion," he said.

"The work is in the homestretch, and everyone is looking forward to the project finishing this summer."

The project is designed to reduce congestion and increase safety for the volume of traffic on East William Street, which before the pandemic was about 20,000 vehicles a day, he said.

Without the middle lane, accidents and delays occurred as vehicles stopped to make left turns, he said.

Among the project's recent developments was the May 2 replacement of a pedestrian bridge at William and Lake streets. It carries the Springfield Branch pedestrian trail over William, Yoakum said.

The bridge is wider and is expected to improve the intersection below and better accommodate turns by large trucks, he said.

The new bridge -- which arrived in two sections bolted together to form an 85,000-pound structure 110.5 feet long -- was lifted into place by a crane, he said.

The bridge still needs a concrete deck and additional finishing work before it can open to the public later this spring, Yoakum said.

Last June, city officials said the project would cost $6.5 million, with the city's share at $1.1 million.

The city has described the project as a preliminary step to be followed by plans to widen to four lanes the pavement under the Norfolk Southern railroad bridge at the Point intersection of William and Sandusky streets on the east side.

The roadway east of the Point narrows from four to two lanes as it passes under the railroad bridge.

City Manager Tom Homan in February called the project "the largest transportation project the city's ever undertaken" and said it is likely to cause "a lot of pain, I think, unfortunately."

Work is expected to begin in 2022 and take 18 to 24 months to complete, he said.

The project also is expected to require construction of a temporary bridge that will stand until the railroad bridge is replaced, Homan said.

Among other transportation-related projects, Yoakum said, the Ohio Department of Transportation began work May 4 to remove a deteriorating metal retaining wall at the U.S. Route 23 on- and off-ramps at William Street.

A concrete wall will be installed in its place, he said.

Additional work will take place on the bridge that carries the William Street entrance ramp across the Delaware Run, he said.

Also May 4, a renovation will start on the U.S. 23-William Street off-ramp, expected to last more than a month, Yoakum said.

Initially, off-ramp traffic will be maintained in one lane 10 feet wide for both right and left turns at William and delays should be expected, he said.

Tentatively starting May 18, the ramp will close from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. for two weeks. Each ramp also is expected to be closed on a weekend to be announced later, he said.

During closures, detours will be posted directing traffic to either of the city's other access points to U.S. 23, at the ends of both North and South Sandusky. The city also started street striping May 4, which will continue through June, Yoakum said.

The work will be on sections of Central Avenue, William Street, West Winter Street, Sandusky Street, Liberty Street, Troy Road, Applegate Lane, Curtis Street, Firestone Drive, Pittsburgh Drive, Armstrong Road, Houk Road, Davidson Lane, Potter Street, and intersections along U.S. Route 42 and London Road.

Parking restrictions will be in place when the striping work is conducted the downtown area between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., Yoakum said.

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