Intersection issue takes a left turn

A potential resolution to concerns about a proposed $3.2 million traffic and pedestrian safety upgrade to the Seventh, Pike and Greene streets intersection is expected to be presented during a meeting of Marietta City Council’s streets and transportation committee at Lookout Park Tuesday.

“I’ve worked all last weekend, making phone calls and talking with (Ohio Department of Transportation) officials, and hopefully by the first of next week we will have a revision of the intersection project allowing a left turn from Seventh onto Greene street,” Mayor Joe Matthews announced during Thursday’s city council meeting.

The mayor said by the end of Tuesday’s streets committee session he hopes council members will have a final answer to submit to ODOT Wednesday on whether or not the city wants to move ahead with the project.

Streets committee chairman Denver Abicht, D-at large, said council members, the administration, and city engineer have worked hard to bring the project to fruition.

“I just hope this meeting on Tuesday will make people happy and we can get moving on this project,” he said.

The proposed preliminary design alternative for the project would eliminate the current left turn from north Seventh Street onto Greene Street at the Speedway store.

That has generated concern from some residents and business owners in the Norwood district who said they do not want the project to move forward if the left turn is eliminated.

The city administration and engineer’s office have been attempting to work with ODOT to allow the left turn from north Seventh onto Greene to remain when the intersection improvements are made. But the ODOT central office in Columbus had initially refused to grant a design exception permitting the left turn.

Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, was pleased that ODOT officials seemed willing to meet the city halfway on the left turn issue.

“I’m glad to see the people at ODOT have seen that there will have to be some compromise on this project,” he said.

In other business Thursday, council approved a $32,448 change order for the second phase of the Armory Square renovation project that’s currently underway.

Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, and chairman of the lands, buildings and parks committee, said the change order is needed so that the second phase work can continue unimpeded.

The change order includes $5,628 for replacement of two existing purlins (roof supporting timbers); $16,860 to change tongue-and-groove ceiling sheeting from 1-inch to 1 1/2 inch thickness to anchor screws from new roofing that will be installed; and $9,960 for plywood to cover wall coping.

Also during Thursday’s session, Trent Vogel was reappointed to the Marietta Disability Commission, and Larry Nohe appointed to the Income Tax Advisory Board.