By Aimee Hancock
COVINGTON — With Covington’s long-anticipated High Street Utility Project underway, village council members voted on a resolution Monday to authorize the closure of certain alleys for the duration of the project, as needed.
The project, which has an estimated timeline of April 2 to Sept. 1, 2021, will be a 3-phase project along High Street and individual blocks will be closed as work is completed in the area. The project has been planned for many years and will replace water, sewer, and storm sewer lines along High Street. This project is intended to update the infrastructure along High Street in preparation for the High Street Roadway Construction/Replacement Project set for 2022.
Administrator Kyle Hinkelman noted the project is off to a “difficult start,” and said many village residents have called into the village offices with complaints about traffic not utilizing the designated detours, along with issues on side streets and alleys.
The approved resolution states the alleys affected by closures will include the alley near State Route 41, between High and Pearl streets; the alley north of Wright Street (West); and the alley north of Wright Street (East).
According to Hinkelman, these alleys will be closed only if/when needed to allow work to be completed on the utility project, or for safety reasons associated with the project work. Hinkelman said he anticipates the alley near State Route 41 may need to remain closed throughout the entirety of the project, or around the beginning of September, while the other two alleys will likely only need closed for shorter durations as work is completed.
Hinkelman also noted additional resolutions are likely to be brought before council members in the future with regard to further temporary street/alley closings related to the project.
Two detours are in place for the duration of the project. For the State Route 41 closure, the detour is Interstate 75 to State Route 36. For the High Street closure, the detour is State Route 718 to State Route 721 to State Route 36.
Hinkelman said there have been numerous reports of semi-trucks and other large vehicles attempting to “cheat the system” and avoid the detour by going down side streets to get through the village. He said the village staff will be working to prevent this through traffic as much as possible, and asks that residents continue to submit their concerns to village administration.
The village has created a page on its website to keep village residents informed of the project’s progress. Visit www.covington-oh.gov/villageprojects for regularly updated details about the project.
In other business during Monday’s meeting:
• Hinkelman said a water main break on High Street led to a boil advisory for properties on High Street between State Route 36 and Wright Street. As of Tuesday morning, the water main and valve have been fixed, but the boil advisory is in effect for those properties (affected properties have received notices).
• A first reading was held on an ordinance regarding the regulation of animals within the village of Covington.
• Council approved authorization for participation in the ODOT Road Salt Program.
• Approval was given to add Rhonda Gill as an authorized signatory on Covington Savings and Loan accounts. Gill is the new fiscal officer. Her first day was Monday.
• Council authorized an application for the 2021 Community Development Block Grant Program. This neighborhood revitalization program provides funding for public facilities improvements such as construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation efforts.