Lovers Lane meeting set for Thursday

STEUBENVILLE – Michael Dolak is very familiar with the history of Lovers Lane, its lack of drainage and and numerous potholes.

The city engineer drives the street at least twice a day and has been working on plans for a future upgrade the roadway for months.

Dolak, along with representatives from GPD & Associates of Columbus and the Ohio Department of Transportation will meet with city residents starting at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Prime Time Senior Center to discuss plans for the street that first was built in the early 1930s.

“We will be talking about Phase 1 of the reconstruction project that calls for either a roundabout or a turning lane at the intersection of Lovers Lane and the Fort Steuben Mall Drive. We had four alternatives for that intersection. The first option was to do nothing. The second option was to create a southbound turning lane with no traffic light. But those are not viable options,” Dolak said.

We are looking at a southbound turning lane with signalization at the intersection as one option or a roundabout at the intersection that would slow down traffic on Lovers Lane. We are looking at a construction start date for the intersection project of the summer of 2016,” explained Dolak.

According to Dolak, Phase II of the Lovers Lane project will see the widening of the Sunset Boulevard and Lovers Lane intersection.

“That will mean a small amount of property acquisition for the right of way and that is set for a 2017 start date, with completion scheduled for September 2018,” said Dolak.

“Phase III will see the road completely rebuilt with proper drainage from Princeton Avenue to Fort Steuben Mall Drive. We are looking at a total cost of more than $5 million with most of the cost being covered by federal and state money,” he said.

Dolak has successfully pursued federal and state dollars to pay for most of the reconstruction work.

City Manager Tim Boland said the city is exploring different financial options for the city’s share of the project.

“We do have to do something now to make Lovers Lane driveable. We don’t have $5 million in the budget but there are programs out there where we can pursue financing so we can rebuild that road. We don’t have a reservoir of money and it won’t be easy. But we are moving forward,” said Boland.

“The information will also be on the city website at www.cityofsteubenville.us,” said Dolak.

And the city is planning to have enhanced maintenance work done soon on Lovers Lane from Princeton Avenue to the Fort Steuben Mall Drive intersection.

Dolak said he anticipates the repaving of the busiest part of Lovers Lane will start in early May and is expected to be completed in June.

“That enhanced maintenance work will cost $136,000. That project will mean grinding the existing roadway down about 3 inches and then putting a new asphalt overlay on the road. That will mean that section of Lovers Lane will be closed at least eight hours a day. We will then be doing major patching from the Fort Steuben Mall Drive to Coal Hill. We know that is a temporary fix and we are continuing to work on the three-phase project to completely rebuild Lovers Lane,” explained Dolak.

Maintenance and Repair Director Bob Baird said a standard patching project is planned from Fort Steuben Mall Drive to Sinclair Avenue “and will include milling the pothole areas and repaving the road in sections.”