Canal Winchester to start next phase of Gender Road upgrades in April

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Canal Winchester municipal offices

Work will move forward in April on the next phase of upgrades to the heavily traveled Gender Road corridor. 

During its March 1 meeting, Canal Winchester City Council unanimously approved an $868,486 contract with Shelly and Sands Inc. for construction costs connected with the fifth phase of the project.    

Other companies providing bids include Strawser Paving Co. ($894,482), Complete General Construction Co. ($934,019), Columbus Asphalt Paving Inc. ($939,424) and Decker Construction Co. ($955,950). 

Grants and loans from the Ohio Public Works Commission will fund 83% of the costs, city Finance Director Amanda Jackson said. The city will receive $250,000 in grant funding. The rest will be paid through a 20-year, 0% interest loan. 

The Gender Road improvements from Canal Street to Winchester Boulevard include: 

• A new traffic signal at the Canal Street intersection

• New street lighting

• Relocating the existing bike lanes adjacent to northbound Gender Road traffic lanes

• Adding a northbound right-turn lane from Gender Road to Bigerton Bend

• Adding a northbound right-turn lane from Gender Road to Winchester Boulevard

Bill Sims, the city’s construction services administrator, said traffic in all directions on Gender Road, Winchester Boulevard, Canal Street and Bigerton Bend will be affected during the work, which is expected to be completed in October. 

Bike lanes will be closed for a “significant portion of the construction,” according to the city’s website, canalwinchesterohio.gov, which details the project. 

“This was the last intersection that needed the traffic signals upgraded from the old span wire to the decorative mast arms,” Sims said. 

The city already is preparing plans for the sixth phase of the project, which would focus primarily on the U.S. 33 interchange; it will include a dedicated right-turn lane from northbound Gender Road to eastbound U.S. 33 and a pedestrian pathway across the bridge, Sims said. 

McGill Park update 

The city expects to seek bids to construct a trail connecting McGill Park to an area along Walnut Creek, to Washington Street and to the Bergstresser covered bridge now that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has released funding, Public Service Director Matt Peoples told City Council on March 1. 

Last year, the city received word from the state that it would receive a $450,000 Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant for the connector trail. The city expects to spend about $900,000 to build the trail and then to be reimbursed for 50% of the cost through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant. 

The trail will be nearly a mile long and 10 feet wide, with new bridge crossings at Washington Street and Ashbrook Road, leading from the covered bridge at Washington Street and Ashbrook Road to McGill Park. 

Canal Winchester purchased 90 acres along Lithopolis-Winchester Road in 2017 to build a multipurpose park in three phases, costing upward of $6 million. 

Much of what's planned for the estimated $2.2 million first phase of the project, including construction of a main access drive, four soccer fields, a three-season shelter house and a natural playground area, should be completed by the end of this year, Mayor Mike Ebert has said. 

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