Farson St. widening project gets good review from mayor

BELPRE – Traffic is flowing easier in the north end of Farson Street after the completion of new turn lanes and other street work.

“Work is essentially done,” said Mayor Mike Lorentz. “Traffic flows really well and I am really pleased with how the work turned out.”

On Nov. 1, crews with Shelly & Sands Construction removed the last barrels and barricades from the area and allowed traffic to and from U.S. 50 to move freely for the first time since August.

Farson Street has now been widened from the intersection with U.S. 50 and tapers back to two lanes near Rockland Avenue.

Work was done in a two-phase process and included widening the street to create turn lanes, sidewalks, roughly 20 street signs and a traffic light at the entrance to the Memorial Health Systems Health Bridge Medical Park campus.

This work is expected to be the final project to better serve the residents and businesses in the growing west end of Belpre.

The construction on this project was funded through federal grants, the Ohio Public Works and about $110,000 from the city.

Although the physical work of the project is compete, Lorentz said he will be meeting with representatives of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Shelly & Sands Construction, Buckeye Hills -Hocking Valley Regional Development District and other entities involved with the project for the official sign-off Wednesday.

“After we sign the completion papers, it will be official,” Lorentz said. “I can’t wait.”

As the work on the roadway and sidewalks was being done, the city had its own crews working to move city utilities, which included water and sewer lines, to give current and future residents and businesses better services.

“A lot has been going on in that area and a lot more will happen,” Lorentz said.

Those other projects include the upcoming construction of a new station two for the Belpre Volunteer Fire Department in the area.

Last week, Belpre City Council approved legislation to allow a contract between the city and 601 Plaza LLC for the exchange of property and construction of the facility.

The new fire station is needed as the current Farson Street building will be torn down as part of the expansion of the Health Bridge facilities.

“The current station is still being used while the new one is built,” Lorentz said. “The final plans have been submitted and approved and Chief (Eric Sinnett) is pleased, so I am happy with it.”

The station is expected to be completed by May 1.

“Construction and change, especially of this size, is painful, but it’s going to be great when everything comes together,” Lorentz said.