Sunset Boulevard-Lovers Lane widening project to be completed by October

WORK CONTINUES — Work on the Sunset Boulevard-Lovers Lane widening project has shifted to the east-bound lanes of Sunset Boulevard. According to City Engineer Mike Dolak, crews with Shelly and Sands are on target to finish the work by October. -- Linda Harris

STEUBENVILLE — There’s still work to be done, but City Engineer Mike Dolak said crews are on track to finish the Sunset Boulevard-Lovers Lane widening project by October.

Rayland’s Shelly and Sands is doing the work, which has involved adding turning lanes; new, wider sidewalks; new curbs, traffic and crosswalk signals; and a pedestrian island, as well as adding and moving utility lines, fire hydrants and drainage structures.

“And, that’s not the final course of asphalt,” Dolak said, pointing at a rough coat that’s been applied on the north side of Sunset. “We’re about 90 percent complete with Phase I, the north side of Sunset. Right now they’re working on Phase II, the south side — hopefully, they’ll be finished with that part by October, and then Phase III will be the final course of asphalt.”

The $1.8 million project was started in March.

“It’s difficult, we’ve got to maintain traffic,” Dolak said. “We have to keep traffic moving and work with all the businesses, make sure we maintain their entrances all the time.

“The challenge on this side (the south side) is that we have to put a storm water quality structure in,” he added, adding storm water will run into the box, which measures about 7 feet by 7 feet and be about 10 feet underground. Debris caught up in the storm flow will gravitate to the bottom and be filtered out, so that the water that flows out is clean.

“There’s nowhere (to the side of the road) to build it, so we’re going to have to build it into the road,” Dolak said. “Also on that side, there’s a high-pressure, 20-inch water line we have to work around.

“We’re building around things that have been here since the 1980s,” he added. “There are utilities everywhere, existing gas lines and water lines, an ATT transmission duct. We’ve got to work around all that stuff, we have to be careful not to damage any existing facilities already in place — all while maintaining traffic.”

He said the project was sparked by a spike in traffic accidents in that area a few years back.

“The state did a traffic study, “and from that study (came) this project, as a way to improve safety and efficiency at the intersection,” Dolak explained.

He said the turning lanes have improved traffic flow.

“We haven’t closed Bryden Road yet, but that should be happening soon,” he added.

Dolak’s office last week warned residents the intersection of Bryden Road at Sunset would be closed to all traffic for 90 days beginning this week.

“It should be soon,” he said. “It could happen by the end of the week.

“If not the end of this week, then by early next week.”

The project is being paid for through $1.5 million in federal transportation funds, $250,000 from the state and a nearly $60,000 local match.