State agency expected to fully open road, take detour down in a couple weeks
MOUNT VERNON, Nov. 5, 2021 – The state’s five-month construction project widening State Route 13, or North Sandusky Street, on the north side of Mount Vernon is currently expected to have the detour removed as soon as Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving, and no later than Nov. 30.
When the project began in early July, the Ohio Department of Transportation gave a completion window of Nov. 15-Nov. 30 for the work that required a detour, but weather delays have pushed it back about a week, according to ODOT’s District Five filed staff.
The state, via its contractor Eclipse Co., LLC, is widening North Sandusky Street from James to Franklin streets, as well as widening turn lanes, adding sidewalks and cutting down on the number of entry/exit drives onto the street as a safety measure. In addition, the entire road base is being replaced, while the storm sewer system was replaced under the east, or northbound, side of the road. The City put down new water mains lines in the area. Additionally, outside of this project footprint sanitary sewer line installation is planned, with funding from a Community Development Block Grant.
Southbound motorists have been detoured around the construction zone since July 7, and those detours will be taken down when North Sandusky is fully reopened on Nov. 24-30.
The sidewalk on the west, or southbound, side of North Sandusky is scheduled to be started on or about Tuesday, Nov. 9, while the traffic signal at North Sandusky and Belmont Avenue will be re-installed starting on Monday, Nov. 8.
That will not be the end of work on the thoroughfare, however. It’s too late in the year for the final coat of asphalt to be laid because of the colder temperatures, so that last bit of work will likely have to wait until warmer weather arrives next spring. That final paving will necessitate the closure of the street for a short time; traffic will likely be maintained while the final striping and traffic markings are put down.
The traffic and safety issues presented by this stretch of North Sandusky Street have been on the City of Mount Vernon’s radar since at least 2014, when the City conducted a safety study of the area. Following a second study in 2017, ODOT committed funds for the current project.
When work started last summer, the project was slated to cost a little more than $2.5 million, with the City contributing $738,603.
For more than five months now, only northbound traffic has been allowed up North Sandusky Street between James and Franklin streets. ODOT put up a detour directing southbound traffic on State Route 13 to westbound State Route 95 at Fredericktown, southbound State Route 314 at Chesterville, and eastbound State Route 229 at Sparta into Mount Vernon.
Locally, the City directed motorists heading south on 13 to turn north on Upper Fredericktown Road, east on Clinton Road and then south on Mansfield Avenue.
As residents on the north side of the City are aware, however, the detours were not always followed. From July 7 through Nov. 4, the Mount Vernon Police Department made 146 traffic stops related to the detours being violated, and issued 52 citations for trucks being off the state route, according to Police Chief Robert Morgan.