Traffic going down Perkins Avenue will just have to run a little slower for a few years.
A project to synchronize traffic signals along Perkins Avenue from Camp Street to U.S. 250 has been delayed until 2013. The two partners in the project, Erie County and Sandusky, pulled money from the project to fund projects seen as a higher priority.
The 1.7-mile stretch of Perkins Avenue is the busiest local road in Erie County and carries about 20,000 vehicles a day. The project, originally planned to be completed in 2007 as a $764,000 project, was supposed to use a computer to coordinate the signals and speed motorists along. The project was delayed in 2007 because the Ohio Department of Transportation ordered design changes at the intersection of Perkins and Hayes avenues, said Matt Rogers, project engineer for the Erie County Engineer's office.
Erie County had hoped to complete another project in 2008, revamping the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Strub Road by adding turn lanes to Strub so it could handle more traffic. The project did not draw any bids and will be rebid this year.
County engineer Jack Farschman said one problem was that the original engineer's estimate was too low. The original estimate of $600,000 has now been revised upward to $870,000.
But another problem is that ODOT took too long to approve the plans for the Columbus and Strub project, forcing the engineer's office to bid the project late in the year, when contractors had other commitments.
In his annual report to the Erie County Commissioners, Farschman wrote that the intersection project didn't get done "due to ODOT's failure to execute and in fact pushing other ODOT project(s) ahead of ours on their priority list."
ODOT is swamped with work, and "sometimes it can be hard to get a response," Rogers said.
Brian Stacy, spokesman for the ODOT District 3 office in Ashland, said ODOT engineers have to pay careful attention to detail when reviewing plans.
"ODOT has a lot of plans that we process," he said. "There are a lot of things that are involved with processing plans."
Farschman said that taking money away from the Perkins Avenue traffic signal project will allow his office to cover the increased cost of the Columbus and Strub project and allow it to be completed this year.
The city of Sandusky also needed money to complete its Hayes Avenue underpass work, so delaying the project served the interests of both partners, Rogers said.