June 25, 2016

Mostly sunny

Why have road crews moved into the sun?

After a week of working exclusively at night, Medina paving crews on Monday returned to daylight hours along with their orange barrels and traffic delays.

Why the switch?

Paving crews returned to work during the day Monday, resulting in lane closings and slowed traffic on state Route 18 west of Public Square. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DAN POMPILI)

Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said the Ohio Department of Transportation said it can’t afford to pay for anymore night work on the $2 million project.

“They told me there wasn’t money in the account to continue to do the work at night, he said. “We got the most critical areas done at night with the least interruption to traffic.”

Earlier this month, city officials negotiated with ODOT and the project’s contractor, Kokosing Construction of Fredericktown, to work only at night to finish repaving state Route 18 from Public Square, along East Washington Street, east to the city limits, near Medina Hospital.

That section was completed last week.

But two sections of Route 18 still need work: the top layer of asphalt from Public Square, along West Liberty Street, to State Road, and multiple layers from State Road west to the city limits.

Hanwell said he asked city Engineer Patrick Patton to speak to ODOT District 3 Deputy Director Allen C. Biehl, but the best deal the city could get was that the paving crews won’t start working until after 9 a.m. to allow time for school traffic to subside.

Hanwell said all paving could be completed by the end of this week, but lane markings still will need to be painted.

Biehl could not be reached for comment Monday because ODOT offices were closed for Columbus Day.

Kokosing was paid an additional $8,500 to work at night last week, said Rob VanGorder, the vice president of the company’s highway and asphalt division.

“We did get paid a premium by ODOT for night work, and that includes shift differential pay and for asphalt plant crews and additional lighting requirements,” VanGorder said.

VanGorder said ODOT spells out everything his company is allowed to do, including the hours worked and what roads it can close off.

He said ODOT approves any change to the contract and decides what it will and will not pay for.

“ODOT tells us what we’re allowed to do,” he said. “We’re happy to do it either way. We don’t want to back up traffic.”

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.