Riverside road plan near Wright-Patterson, Air Force museum hits snag

RIVERSIDE — Repairs will be delayed for a barrier improving traffic safety on a major Riverside thoroughfare near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Improvements to the crumbling Harshman Road concrete median built in the 1970s will be pushed to at least the fall after no businesses bid on the project, according to the city.

The wall repairs are needed before a long-term proposal that calls for restructuring the median and that area of Harshman, city Service Director Kathy Bartlett has said.

For the current project, Riverside officials said contractors told them that timing conflicted with their schedules, leading to the lack of bids.

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That area of Harshman, which officials have said averages about 20,000 vehicles daily, also includes an exit for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

Work was initially envisioned to start this summer. Now the city wants to rebid the project next month with a target start date of fall and hopes to complete it by the end of the year, Riverside City Manager Joshua Rauch said.

Plans on the work are being revised “to give the contractors more flexibility in how they schedule” the work, he added.

But the $220,000 estimated cost for the work — coupled with an influx of regional government infrastructure projects — may impact how much business contractor interest the project draws, according to an industry executive.

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“When you’re talking about a total project estimate of $200,000, that’s a very low amount of work,” Ohio Valley Associated Builders and Contractors President John Morris said. “Those type of contractors are looking at $3 (million) to$5 million projects on the low end.”

The initial summer timeframe start was designed to minimize delays and avoid school traffic, Rauch said.

With the project being pushed back, the city wants to revise the project to “provide more flexibility in the scheduling. So, it’s easier for a contractor to get to over time,” Rauch said.

Riverside will likely change what work occurs in phases, as some parts of the wall need more substantial repair than others, he added.

“If they need to replace a major section, the idea would be to build the schedule out…to make sure that the work can be done in such a way that between those big repairs and the smaller repairs, they’re able to do it in a more streamlined, smooth way over a longer period of time,” Rauch said.

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