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5th Street intersection still clogged up

Workers move to west side until mid-August

SOLON– It will be mid-August before the intersection of Highway 1 and 5th Street opens back up completely.
Public Works Director Scott Kleppe reported contractors for a signalization project were scheduled to switch to the west side of the intersection July 27, with work to be wrapped on Friday, Aug. 14.
A second phase of the project, the installation of the signals, is not expected until October, Kleppe said.
Solon City Council members questioned the project’s timeline at a July 15 meeting, and Kleppe clarified the schedule July 23.
Eastbound through traffic on 5th Street has been re-routed around the traffic signal project for over a month as crews worked on sewer, sub-drain, subgrade and paving.
The council discussion came as a $64,778.60 payment for the project was considered.
“Everything is continuing on schedule,” Kleppe noted.
Two base columns for the light poles on the east side of 5th Street have been poured, 12 feet deep and 30 inches in diameter, he added. Concrete was expected to be poured along the Bridge Community Bank side Thursday, July 16, he said at the meeting.
“We’re trying to get them pushed to get that intersection opened up as absolutely quickly as possible,” Kleppe pledged.
But council members cited previous reports predicting the intersection would be open in mid-July.
“When you say it’s on schedule, on the schedule it says it’s going to be open the 15th, which is today, so it’s probably not on schedule?” asked council member Steve Duncan. “How far behind are we?”
Kleppe explained the schedule had been changed, but contractors were still within a six-to-eight week window of the date estimated when work began.
Duncan contended the public believed the intersection would be open, and information sent to the council indicated the same.
Back in May, council members approved a low bid of $286,931.50 from Price Electric of Robins for the project. Work began Monday, June 15.
“That’s what we were getting from the project engineer on site,” Kleppe stated.
Duncan said it seemed fair to say it was not on schedule, but Kleppe explained the crews were within the timeframe of the printed construction schedule to finish the project.
“The 15th, I think they were shooting for that to be done with the east side,” he said. “They still have to switch over to do some work on the west side.”
The west side will be closed to through traffic, he continued, although the work will not be as extensive as the east side, which accommodated an increase in the intersection’s radius, widening the southeast corner by about 10 feet.
“Again, they have to pour the bases and do some sidewalk installations, but nothing as major as what was done on the east side,” Kleppe observed. “They’re not going to change curb and gutter or lay asphalt.”
Over 11,000 vehicles were traveling either the northbound or southbound lane of Highway 1 at the 5th Street intersection on a daily basis, according to a traffic flow study by the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County (MPOJC) in April and September of 2017.
Improvements include traffic signals with video detection and LED signal heads, pedestrian countdown signal heads, push buttons and signage similar to Highway 1 at its intersection with Main Street, completed in late 2016.