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68 Bypass. . . Are you sure you want it?

kheskett

Thu Apr 27, 2006 09:23AM

Long ago there were lynchings at the square. At the risk of causing enough anger to bring that activity back into practice with myself with her head in the noose, I raise the above question. First the disclaimers: my opinions are not set in stone; I am not an expert on business, industry and downtown revitalization; and I am not clairvoyant. I also do not like the truck traffic. But, if we get rid of the truck traffic, won't the rest of the traffic go too?
Here are some things that cross my mind:
*Traffic through town is a good thing. It is a sign of life and activity, and brings business. If people do not see a store, they will not stop to shop there unless they knew about it and went there intentionally.
* How many downtowns have become ghost towns because of bypasses?
*When travelling, do you take the bypass around a town, or go through it? What did you not see by taking the bypass?
So, perhaps we should be careful what we ask for. We might just get it. Urbana bypassed.

mwturner

Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:35PM

Dear Karen,

I'm thinking you'll be safe since everyone has, so far, survived the other "hot" discussions (that title always makes me smile! Sometimes "hot" is just an understatement!!! HA! That's how it goes with passions!). But if it comes to that, I'm betting someone will ride up on a white horse and rescue you. Another good thing about this county: there are so many horses around here and good people who know how to ride them!

Michelle

johnr

Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:48PM

My suggestion would be to come the the meeting tonight and a few of your questions could be answered.

Your concerns are similar to those voiced in the past be other downtown vendors. It could be true.

It could also be true that Honda or some other large employer could have located here if the Bypass had been built in the 70s when it should have been. Those employees might have shopped downtown. Forget that now, many people who live here work and shop elsewhere because this county lacks the infrastructure to attract jobs.

Did 675 help Beavercreek? 68 Bypass in Springfield? 35 and 42 in Xenia? 129 in Hamilton/Liberty Township? In every single case the community has prospered. Find a failure, I cannot.

I've heard that the environmentalists were to blame for that failure. I say I don't believe it. The Cedar bog isn't being harmed by the proposed route today, a way could have been found around it then. It was apathy and outright resistance from this County that killed the original project and we paid for it. The result was one of the highest two income family counts in Ohio (Census) and making less money.

joeslater

Fri Apr 28, 2006 06:53AM

I'm surprised there haven't been any other postings about last evening's 68 Bypass meeting.

I was duly impressed by the number of folks who showed up. I was even more impressed by the passion expressed by some in the audience. And, I was pleased that all in attendence were FOR the Bypass ! If that energy and passion can be converted to a force to get the Bypass, it will happen.

We need to come up with a plan that will get the attention of the movers and shakers that get the funds appropiated and, I'm certain with the help of some of the folks in that room last evening, we can and will come up with a plan. We certainly won't let timidity stand in the way.

aehresmann

Sat Apr 29, 2006 09:37AM

Dear Urbana,

I was impressed with the turnout and was encouraged by the support of current local officials and the one hopeful Adam Ward who did show up but wanted to look at the matter more and had questions on it’s placement on the west side of Urbana rather than east. [I did not find that encouraging.]
Many are right, the 68-Bypass is not the cure for everything, but it is a great start that will lead to better jobs, growth and encourage young people to stay or move to Champaign County.
When runners take the line for a race, there is a line of them and the 68 Bypass is but one of them in this race. On that race line is, better schools, jobs, new businesses and community involvement.
To meet the demands of the future, a 21st Century infrastructure will bring with it investment, better education, jobs and a growing economy and community.

joeslater

Sun May 21, 2006 08:16AM

Last Thursday, our downtown "semi trap" caught another one. This was the first one I had actually seen. I thought it was pretty funny until I had the opportunity to see it from a different angle.

Reckon how long it will be before one of these actually tips over and falls on a car next to it ? Perhaps, killing the occupants in the crushed vehicle. Or, like John Ridder mentioned, what if a toxic chemical is spilled ?

Most communities, and I mean communities without a "semi trap", have "hazmat" routes through them for trucks carrying hazardous materials so as to minimize the danger to citizens in case of an accident. I guess ODOT/TRAC considers the entire city of Urbana a "hazmat" route and, in case of an accident involving toxic materials, we are all expendable.

An analogy would be in the case of surface railroad crossings. A certain number of accidents has to occur before a signal is installed then, a certain extra number of accidents has to occur before the crossing arms are installed. I would like to know what the state considers "acceptable loss" before we can be eligible for a bypass.

aehresmann

Sun May 21, 2006 10:18AM

Joe we are on the same side on this one.
I will be asking every politician running for office what are you going to do about this before I will vote for you.

kevinlook

Mon May 22, 2006 09:16PM

Hello Joe. My feeling on the 68 by-pass is a qoute from an Elton John song of the 70's:
" And I think its going to be a long long time"
Hey also I have a nice picture of Pete and Rosemary that I want you to have.
Kevin

merijon

Wed May 24, 2006 07:54AM

I have been seeing/having issues of late, regarding traffic and I think I have decided why...

I have had trouble getting out of my driveway of late, even living as far south as our home is. I have also noticed that the lights don't seem to be timed out very well, how is that decided? I sat across the street trying to back in for 10 moments last weekend.

I watched a bus not be able to turn this morning because the SUV sitting at the corner couldn't simply back up for it, causing the poor bus to take an alternate route, which was a kindness, as traffic right there was backing up. How rude!!!

I wonder why people still see fit to block intersections thru town--especially the one by our police and fire house. Why do they think they are more important then everyone else?

I just might be on the 68 bandwagon after all!

Merideth

tiffany

Wed May 24, 2006 05:15PM

Don't get me started! I have the hardest time getting out of my driveway on Scioto St. I have traffic coming down Scioto and at me from Sycamore. Unfortunately, the bypass will not help residents on Scioto St.

I noticed that the traffic seemed bad today on Main. Could that be back up from the road construction on Water?

joeslater

Wed May 24, 2006 05:45PM

Tiffany,

I live about 3 doors east of you on Scioto. I notice you have to back out on to Scioto from your driveway. I would almost rather stick a pencil in my than do that !

We're lucky enough to get to leave our driveway, forward. But, I know what you mean about getting out of the driveway. The motorists on Scioto seem to space themselves just right to make it seem like a long parade. Then, about the time eastbound is gone, westbound starts up.

That is one of the reasons I think we should be trying to get a 68 AND a 36 bypass.

Did you read in this mornings' UDC how one of the requirements Honda looks for in a site to build is good highway access ? Did you also notice Van Wert is proud of their new $35,000,000 high school ?

Did you notice Octo is near Rte. 35 and IH71 ?

joeslater

Fri Jun 2, 2006 06:00AM

Did anyone else notice the article in the Sunday Columbus Dispatch about the Route 161 redevelopment near Columbus ?

Would someone please remind me about how road construction selection isn't political ? Please make me believe it.

That project covers 12+/- miles at a cost of $151,000,000. None of you who wants the 68 bypass will believe me when I tell you we aren't asking for enough money. How many more large-dollar projects will be built before ours does ?

These politicians are looking for big-time glory not the little chump-change projects that won't get them any press. They wouldn't even show up for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a $50,000,000 project. We need to give them a cause to champion so they can climb on our bandwagon. It would be best if we could a billion dollar project together for them. That would get their attention.

joeslater

Mon Aug 3, 2009 10:45AM

Where was the representation of Urbana when this maney was being passed out ?


Stimulus Competitors Push Down Price Tags
08/02/2009
The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio
Text size: AABy Doug Caruso, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Aug. 2--Intense competition for jobs and lower material costs are pushing bids for highway stimulus projects well below state estimates.

Some companies are even cutting profit margins to make sure they win the contracts and the jobs they promise.

"It goes to show the competition we've seen on these jobs," said Scott Varner, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation. "We've seen more bidders on contracts than we did in the past."

The 76 contracts Ohio has awarded for highway stimulus projects so far have come in $15 million below state estimates.

But it's too early to say whether that money should be held back in case of cost overruns or applied to additional projects, Varner said.

The state awarded contracts worth $161 million on projects transportation officials estimated would cost $176 million. The low bids came in nearly 9 percent below estimates.

Of 18 stimulus contracts in a batch awarded on July 23, half had five or more bidders. Three had a single bidder, according to the Transportation Department.

"I call it a limited-time sale," Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors, a national trade group, said during a call with reporters last week.

Bids nationwide are coming in below estimate, he said, partly because material prices are down and companies are cutting profit margins -- sometimes to near zero -- so they can keep employees working.

Two paving companies, Shelly & Sands Inc. of Zanesville and the Shelly Co. of Thornville, have won the most contracts. Shelly & Sands has won 11 contracts worth a combined $25.4 million and Shelly has won 10 contracts worth a combined $27 million.

Almost all of the contracts were for road resurfacing.

The companies, which are not related, are two of the state's largest road builders. Each has asphalt plants throughout the state.

Together, they have won more than a quarter of the transportation stimulus projects awarded so far. No other company has received more than three stimulus contracts from the state Transportation Department.

Aaron Mollenkopf, chief estimator for Shelly's Thornville office, said the company has cut its work force over the past two years but has held jobs steady this summer because of the stimulus projects.

"It's a big chunk," he said of the stimulus work. "But it's a chunk that's always been there through normal ODOT projects. We're retaining, but we're not putting any new jobs out there."

Shelly has cut its prices some to compete, he said, but it is still making a profit on the contracts it receives. He said smaller companies seem to be more inclined to cut their margins but still can't always compete for the bigger projects.

On Wednesday, the Transportation Department opened bids on 25 additional projects, including the Nelsonville bypass on Rt. 33 in Athens and Hocking counties, the largest highway stimulus project in the state.

Beaver Excavating of Canton had the lowest bid of five -- $93 million -- for the project, which state engineers estimated would cost $116.6 million. All five bids came in under estimate.

That contract has yet to be awarded, but Beaver already has won two contracts with combined bids of $24.8 million. That's 22 percent below a state estimate of $31.9 million for those projects.

"Prices are extremely, extremely low," said Jack Ford, a vice president at the company. "It's a buyer's market, and we're doing everything we can."

Still, he said, the work has come more slowly than he had hoped when the stimulus was announced. Usually in the peak summer construction season, Beaver employs about 600 people, he said.

Right now, the company has fewer than 400, though Ford expects that the new ODOT contracts will mean rehiring some workers soon.

One project, relocating a street in Portage County, is expected to employ the equivalent of 10.4 full-time workers for three years, he said. The other, at an interchange on I-77 in Tuscarawas County, is expected to employ the equivalent of 11.5 full-time workers for two years.

The trend for low bids continued with the batch of projects opened on Wednesday.

Twenty-two of the 25 projects received bids lower that state estimates. But these projects were almost twice as likely to have a single bidder as the last batch.

Seven of the 25 had just one bid, including two of the three projects where the lowest bid was above estimates.

Still, the low bids totaled $159 million, about 17 percent lower than the $192 million the state estimated.