By Jeff Gallatin
City officials have put on the fast track authorizing applying for $1.4 million in state funds for making recommended safety improvements on Great Northern Boulevard.
City Council’s Safety Committee recommended the action at its March 12 meeting, with an additional recommendation that the full three readings be suspended and the legislation be given final approval at last night’s full City Council meeting.
Planning and development Director Kim Wenger said the quick action became necessary in order to meet the pre-application deadline for the Ohio Department of Transportation and Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency funds. Wenger said she was aware ODOT wanted North Olmsted to file its application by April 30 in order to get the proposal in the early group of proposals for possible funding. She said the city was informed there also is a pre-application deadline.
“Local sponsors should coordinate applications with their local district office at least six weeks in advance of this (April 30) deadline,” she said. “Every application and supporting documentation must be reviewed and approved by the district prior to submission to the central office. This application and supporting documentation will be used by the safety program committee to set the program priorities.”
Wenger said after being made aware of the earlier deadline, she still wanted to live up to the agreement with ODOT to get the applications in time for consideration in the spring, as opposed to the fall deadline of Sept. 30.
‘That’s why I asked for the suspension from council,” she said.
Current cost estimates already have the project on the high side of $1.3 million, based upon a study by an ODOT consultant, Wenger said. The city has a 10-percent matching fund requirement for the project.
North Olmsted police Capt. Mike Kilbane said receiving the grant would aid the city.
“Anything which would help increase the safety of that area would be beneficial,” he said. “It’s heavily traveled and is a major roadway for the entire area.”
“This will be refined as we apply, move through the staff review and ultimately are programmed for the project,” she said. “I like to err on the high side, rather than come up short and have to come back to council for more. Therefore I asked for the higher amount ($1.4 million),” Wenger said.
Wenger said short-term measures in the Great Northern Boulevard safety study used by the officials included proposed lower-cost solutions, such as doing pavement markings and traffic signal upgrades that will improve corridor operations in advance of more significant improvements. Medium-term measures include pavement work on Great Northern Boulevard and at the Interstate 480 westbound entrance ramps.
The study suggested long-term measures should be implemented as a condition of approval for changes requested of development adjacent to the Great Northern Boulevard corridor. Safety deficiencies at critical intersections in that area, such as (Westfield Great Northern) mall access roads, should also be worked on at this stage, the study indicated.