City of Lima breaks ground on $13.8 million grade separation pro - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

City of Lima breaks ground on $13.8 million grade separation project

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on Thursday, the City of Lima broke ground on their $13.8 million grade separation project. on Thursday, the City of Lima broke ground on their $13.8 million grade separation project.
The roadway where Elm Street meets the railroad tracks will be lowered 20 feet to allow traffic to flow continuously. The roadway where Elm Street meets the railroad tracks will be lowered 20 feet to allow traffic to flow continuously.

Howard Elstro never thought this day would come, but on Thursday, the City of Lima broke ground on their $13.8 million grade separation project. The roadway where Elm Street meets the railroad tracks will be lowered 20 feet to allow traffic to flow continuously. This is the first part of a plan to construct a round-a-bout that will connect Elm Street, Bellefontaine, and Calumet Avenue.

"When there are trains present that means that vehicle can just go to the next exit on the round-a-bout, use the Elm Street grade separation and rejoin Bellefontaine by way of Shawnee Street," said Elstro, director of public works for the city.

Elstro said the city has been pursuing funds since 1999. Now there are 12 different funding sources for the project. While speaking at the groundbreaking Mayor David Berger joked a change was evident in 2012, when then-President Barack Obama's motorcade was stopped at the railroad tracks and secret service attempted to keep the crossing gates from halting them up.

"I think the railroad recognizes it’s improved for their needs," Elstro said. "It eliminates those safety conflicts for pedestrians, vehicles, trucks. I think everybody in the region is excited about this project."

The Ohio Department of Transportation has played a large part the entire way and the number one thing they think this project will benefit is safety.

"There were reports of kids actually sliding under trains to get to school because there was just no way to get around and they didn’t want to be late for school and coming back home," said Kirk Slusher, deputy director for ODOT District One. "Safety is by far the biggest advantage for the project."

Elstro mentioned about 30,000 vehicles come through this intersection each day and this project will relieve that tension. While there may be some inconveniences during construction, Slusher said this is all positive.

"There’s very few negatives in a project like this," said Slusher. "This is a huge asset for the city moving forward. It’ll be a great project for not only the city but the whole Lima community."

The project is expected to be completed in November 2019.

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