Admore, Stonewater drives to be connected

Leila Archer

Extension will help traffic management

Admore Drive may look like a dead-end dirt road now, but by next April, the road will have a new look and purpose.

The Admore Drive extension project will connect the Lakes of Franklin Mills development to West Main Street.

“The connection of Admore to Stonewater Drive has been in thoroughfare plans for years,” Kent City Engineer James Bowling said.

The extension is being added so emergency vehicles can access the homes in that area more easily, he said, adding that the extension is also for the residents’ convenience and for traffic management.

“They only have one way in or out,” Bowling said. “If there was some problem, something happens and a road is closed, then the fire (trucks) can’t get in there. Everyone’s sort of stuck and trapped in there.”

Bowling said the project was supposed to be constructed two years ago, before he became the city engineer. But the construction was postponed because of internal budget freezes for 2006 and 2007.

In addition to the road, there will also be a multipurpose path, which will end at Al Lease Park.

The project will include construction of new curbs, pavement, sidewalks, a storm sewer and a waterline and will improve the road’s current condition.

“We’re not just building a road,” Bowling said. “The new water main is going to connect from state Route 59 to the subdivision to give us redundancy (in the water).”

There will also be a traffic signal installed at the intersection of Admore Drive and West Main Street.

“We’re anticipating, just due to the heavy volume of traffic on 59, that people coming out of the Lakes at Franklin Mills to the south won’t be able to leave with all the traffic on 59 unless there was a stoplight there,” he said. “When this (the road extension) is open, that gate (around the development) is going to be removed and then traffic will be able to flow south.

“We were concerned there would be too much traffic and too much delay. They wouldn’t be able to get out.”

The project has been allotted about $1 million, but because of low construction company bids, Bowling said he anticipates spending less money.

“Road construction is very expensive,” he said. “The traffic signal alone is typically around $150,000.”

According to City Capital Projects Web site, the Ohio Public Works Committee is providing about $353,000 for the project.

The rest of the money is being provided by the city utilities fund and the city general fund.

“The city has numerous funding resources depending upon what we’re building,” Bowling said. “If we’re building a waterline out there like we’re building, that comes out of our water fund.”

Tom Wysocki, treasurer for Klaben Chrysler Jeep Dodge, said the road extension will help his company because it will provide more access to the car dealer’s lot.

“It could potentially add to the possibility of having some additional business,” he said.

He said he thinks that the traffic light is a good idea for Kent because it will manage traffic and could be good for business.

“It will stop traffic in front of our dealerships, where, I suppose, people can look at cars while they’re stopped,” he said.

Bowling said he hasn’t heard any complaints yet about construction or the project, but did say that the residents of the Lakes of Franklin Mills development are worried that the street will become a cut-through once the project is completed.

“(The residents) are concerned that it will cause more traffic concerns where they exit out onto Fairchild (Avenue),” he said. “So after the road is built, after about six months or one year and people have gotten used to it, we’re going to study it to see whether or not a (traffic) signal is required at Fairchild and Stonewater.”

Bowling said he hopes the road is open before winter, but that all depends on weather conditions.

“You can only put asphalt down when the temperature is above 40 (degrees Fahrenheit) and the ground temperature stays above 40,” Bowling said. “And also asphalt plants quit producing at a certain time of the year, depending on if they get enough orders.”

If the weather stays warm, Bowling said, the road will be open in winter, but the bike path and planting won’t be done until spring. If the weather gets cold, the whole project will be finished in the spring.

Contact public affairs reporter Leila Archer at [email protected].