Covington Council discusses road plans

By Aimee Hancock

ahancock@aimmediamidwest.com

COVINGTON — A discussion was held this week during the regular meeting of Covington Council regarding four-way stops, road closures, and road vacations within the village, as well as plans for a five-year pavement program.

According to Administrator Kyle Hinkelman, following the High Street utility project road closure earlier this year, several road issues were brought to light.

Hinkelman said there have been concerns about multiple intersections within the village that seem to give some drivers the expectation that they are four-way stops.

“In working with the police department, we came up with four intersections that we are looking at for potential four-way stops in the village, (including those at) Bridge and Pearl, Bridge and Wall, Pearl and Spring, and Pearl and Walnut,” Hinkelman said. “Those four intersections have been well-documented as concerns either for cars that are hesitant when they don’t know our village or cars that do know our village and like to go fast in certain areas.”

Hinkelman said these four locations are under consideration for being turned into four-way stops prior to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s High Street reconstruction project, which is set to begin next year.

“(This would be to) just make sure that if we have cars or trucks or anyone that doesn’t know our village trying to cut through, even if we have signs and everything we can do, that we make sure our residents are safe in those intersections as we have more traffic taking more routes through the village that they’re not used to,” he said.

Hinkelman also spoke about the possibility of permanently closing a portion of Dodd Street, where it touches Pearl Street.

“There has been a discussion for many years about that intersection where State Route 41, Pearl Street, and Dodd Street connect and that’s a location that would potentially be closed,” he said.

As part of the High Street reconstruction project, the intersection of State Route 41 and High Street will have a new signalized light, which will be “timed correctly” with the Bridge Street intersection light.

“So, if you’re trying to make a right turn, you’re going to be able to smooth sail through, if you’re trying to make a left turn, there will be a left turn lane and you can make a left turn there,” Hinkelman said. “By closing that portion of (Dodd Street), we can protect the people on that street and make sure the cut-through traffic is stopped.”

Hinkelman noted there is “no need,” in terms of throughput for that section of Dodd Street, noting that the residents who live on that street would still have access to their homes from State Route 48.

Council member Scott Tobias objected to the proposed closure, claiming closing that portion of the road would not inhibit drivers from looking for a way to avoid the State Route 41 and 48 intersection, even despite the addition of a left-turn-only lane.

“All you’re going to do is force traffic down Pearl Street and Bridge Street,” Tobias said. “It isn’t going to be any better, it isn’t going to make any difference … all you’re doing it causing other people more traffic.”

Hinkelman said the cut-through issue may “resolve itself” following the ODOT reconstruction project once the signals on High Street, at State Route 41 and at Bridge Street, are timed in sync. He added that this issue can be tabled and re-examined at a later date.

During a discussion of “road vacations,” or alleyways, Hinkelman said a study is being conducted of all village alleyways and the purposes they serve. He said consideration is being taken regarding the possibility of vacating certain alleyways, which serve no public purpose, to the nearby property owners, making them private spaces. Hinkelman said he will approach the council again regarding this topic once the study is completed.

Hinkelman introduced a draft list of roads in need of paving, laid out as a five to seven year plan. This includes Maple Street, College, Wenrick, Main, Larry, Sharon, and Dick Minnick streets. This pavement plan would be budgeted for in the village’s yearly budgets.

No action was taken on any of the above discussion items.

Council voted to pass two resolutions, as emergencies due to timelines, including approval of the Miami Solid Waste Management District’s amended draft Solid Waste Management Plan and to accept the Miami County Budget Commission rates of tax for 2021.